Lunch was served at the mission, at 1201 East Main St., until 2 p.m. and was followed by an Easter basket giveaway and other activities. Participants could take home clothing, groceries and Easter goodies.
"It's been a rough year for us," said Mello Anderson. "But we're still smiling and we're still faithful and we're still grateful."
Anderson and her five children recently relocated to Durham from South Carolina. She said she came to the rescue mission Friday in search of some prayer and a holiday celebration. "We're unfortunate this year," she said, "but in the future if I can give back and help the mission, I will gladly do so."
Hundreds of volunteers began cooking 400 pounds of pork Thursday night and worked through the day Friday with mission staff to serve those in attendance.
Tina Vassar, who lost both her parents in the past year, said she gained as much from volunteering as she gave. "This is kind of my way of hopefully putting a little sunshine on someone else's face," she said.
Chuck Mclean, a volunteer with the Durham Rescue Mission for the last 15 years, said he's seen crowds grow since he began volunteering.
"There is a need for what we do, and that's why the volunteers keep coming back," he said. "The crowds have grown a lot because of need. That's the reason we're here."