Local News

Nonprofits prepare holiday help for families in need

Posted November 8, 2015

Shelves stocked with food at the Durham Rescue Mission.
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— The holidays are just around the corner and this can be a very busy time of year, especially for nonprofit organizations trying to provide for families in need.

Rodney Wilson is in charge of counting the food stored in the basement at the Durham Rescue Mission as part of the preparation for the holiday season.

“It’s a lot of food,” said Wilson.

There is a lot of food in storage, but when an organization is preparing to feed a thousand people for a Thanksgiving dinner, empty spaces in the basement prove that there are not enough supplies.

“You can see that our shelves are getting empty and we’re getting into a busier time of year,” said Durham Rescue Mission chief operating officer, Rob Tart. “We should be bursting at the seam right now.”

The goal of the Durham Rescue Mission is to get at least 200 turkeys for their big Thanksgiving dinner. So far, they have collected about 90, and Tart said the organization still needs staples like beans, corn, and peas.

Tart said he expects that there will be a greater demand for food this year.

“I think it’s going to be a little bit of a bump, just given the feel of the homeless community in general,” said Tart. “The improvement to the economy, I don’t know if it’s been felt this low in the social order yet.”

Wilson doesn’t just work at the Durham Rescue Mission, he lives there while working to get back on his feet and recovering from alcoholism.

“It’s amazing what people will come out and do for people in my situation,” said Wilson.

Things are improving for Wilson and he now looks forward to the holidays, even if he still has to depend on the generosity of others.

Following Thanksgiving, the Durham Rescue Mission will begin collection toys that will be given away to children age 12 and under at a Dec. 23 event.

“Right after Thanksgiving, we jump into our Christmas planning, where we start gathering toys and we need a lot of volunteers,” said Tart.

The Salvation Army of Wake County said that they just wrapped up their Christmas registration for families in need. This year, about 8,000 kids registered for the Angel Tree program, which is down by about 800 from last year.

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