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Volunteers carve up Thanksgiving meals for the needy

Posted November 28, 2013

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— Volunteers at rescue missions and food pantries across the state braved the cold early morning to cook and distribute Thanksgiving meals to needy residents.

At the Durham Rescue Mission, about 500 volunteers carved up 120 turkeys for their noon Thanksgiving meal, which is expected to feed more than 1,000 people.

Durham Rescue Mission co-founder Gail Mills said the holiday tradition, now in its 40th year, has come a long way. 

"I remember that first Thanksgiving day we fed 12 people, and we were just overwhelmed with doing that," Mills said. "Now to see all of these hundreds of volunteers here today helping make this event possible, we're just amazed."

Mills said the meals provided by the nonprofit ministry and its volunteers have impacted many lives in the Triangle – some of whom are now returning the favor.

"Recently we met a young lady. She's very successful now, but she said as a child, they would not have had a turkey on Thanksgiving had it not been for the rescue mission," Mills said. "Now she gives back to help the rescue mission continue that tradition."

Rescue missions give back on Thanksgiving Rescue missions give back on Thanksgiving

Jessica Ingham traveled from Fayetteville with her seven children to spend the day volunteering, which she said has become a holiday tradition.

"I think it's important for them to see that they are lucky for what they have and they don't have to be so needy all the time," Ingham said. "I think it's an eye opener for them all.

The Durham Rescue Mission also distributes about 5,000 pieces of clothing at the event.

A few miles away, 100 volunteers at the Raleigh Rescue Mission also worked to give back Thursday morning. They plan to deliver 750 Thanksgiving meals to the elderly and homebound through their "Gobbles to Go" program.

And in Garner, N.C., Angie's Restaurant offered traditional holiday dinners for those in need, an act that brought 400 people through the doors last year.

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