Local News

Volunteers Serve up Food, Fun, Smiles at Durham Rescue Mission

Posted December 24, 2007 6:35 p.m. EST

— Christmas arrived a day early for hundreds of needy families in the Triangle.

With his oldest daughter by his side, Ricardo Cobos was part of an army of volunteers serving up food, fun and smiling faces at the Durham Rescue Mission Monday.

“We typically like to do volunteer work on the big holidays,” he said. “It’s just the opportunity to give back and say, ‘We love you.’”

With long lines outside the rescue mission several hours before the doors opened, organizers expected close to 2,500 people – more than half of them children. Each child walked away with at least one bag full of toys.

“It means a lot to me. I’m not sure about [the kids], ‘cause they’re not real understanding. They just expected to get toys, but it means a lot to me to be able to do this for them,” said Durham resident Ora Williams.

Cobos said he expects to carry on the tradition next year with even more family members.

“My wife would be here, but she’s eight and a half months pregnant. She’s back home probably watching TV,” he said.

Organizers said they were fortunate to have good weather for Monday’s event, but they're looking to raise money for a dining room in case the weather does not cooperate in the future.

The Raleigh Rescue Mission also fed people Monday through its "Gobbles to Go" Program. Dozens of volunteers prepared, packaged and delivered 400 hot meals. The goal was to help bring cheer to shut-ins, the elderly and low-income families.