DURHAM — Four hundred volunteers, along with dozens of turkeys and all the fixings could be found early Thanksgiving morning at the Durham Rescue Mission. For the 26th year, a bountiful dinner was served, thanks to private donations and willing hands.
The Durham Rescue Mission holds a community Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless and needy. All the cooking is done outdoors in fryers and large cookers. In addition to dinner, the rescue mission gave out food bags, clothing and door prizes.
To get such an undertaking started, alarm clocks sounded early all over the Triangle, primarily in Durham. The first turkey was bubbling in the deep fryer at about 5 a.m.
No matter what the approach, Thanksgiving just would not be Thanksgiving without a tasty turkey.
Wednesday night, the birds were thawed out and rubbed down with garlic salt and pepper.
Lindsey Edwards was the chief cook and turkey dresser at the Durham Rescue Mission, and deep-fried 100 holiday birds. Like many others preparing the mission meal, Edwards is trying to put his life on the right track.
"It's a blessing to be giving instead of living the world of turmoil like I was last year," he said. "This year, I'm giving back to the community and that's about the best Thanksgiving I could ask for."
Giving back to the community is what Thanksgiving at the Durham Rescue Mission is all about.
Anyone is welcome at the free meal. More than 400 volunteers are expected to help carry the load. Ernie Mills, the director of the mission, says the burden is a labor of love.
"There are so many working poor in the community, if we didn't have a Thanksgiving dinner meal some of our folks would go hungry, and I wouldn't want that to happen," he said.
The deep fried turkeys gobbled up a lot of attention, but the rescue mission was also covered on the dessert end of things -- dozens of cakes, pies, cupcakes.
Whether people were at the Durham Rescue Mission as a cook, a volunteer, or someone in need, on the day to give thanks, many were truly thankful.
The Durham Rescue Mission operates using private donations and does not accept government money.