It was something to be truly thankful for. The Rescue Mission served a record-breaking number of Thanksgiving dinners Thursday. Our Katie Gibas spoke with volunteers and those dining about what the meal means to them.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Arnold Ensley is thankful for a warm, sit down Thanksgiving dinner.
He made the trip from New York City to come to the Rescue Mission meal in Syracuse.
"We need that kind of help today because life is up and down so we need that type of help and support," said Ensley.
Ensley and others who had dinner at the Rescue Mission say one of the nicest parts of the meal, is being served by the volunteers.
"It's a beautiful thing. It's a gorgeous thing to have those type of people come and support us, support the Rescue Mission, come to the table and make us feel very great and very good that we have waiting services," said Ensley.
William Hall, a Syracuse resident added, "It means a lot. It shows that they're taking time out, valuable time away from their families to come and help out."
And that meal wouldn't have been possible without all the donations and hundreds of volunteers who helped prepare and serve Thanksgiving dinner.
"The people who come here don't actually have people serving them throughout the year. So it's the one or two days throughout the year that we can actually serve them and make them feel special," said Sandra Gwodz, a volunteer.
"It's important because a lot of the families and individuals that come to us every day, don't have the means to go to a restaurant and experience kind of being waited on and have that service. So we have volunteers that come in and we will get the meals on their plates and then we'll actually serve them at their table. And it just adds a nice extra element to individuals who are struggling on a day to day basis to feel that support from a loving community," said Alan Thornton, the Rescue Mission CEO.
The meal features all the traditional dressings of Thanksgiving. Rescue Mission staff and volunteers cooked about 450 pounds each of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and corn.
They also cut about 250 pies. Rescue Mission staff and volunteers served close to 2000 people. That's about 500 more meals than just two years ago.
"The need continues to climb. I think it's the economy. I think it's unemployment. I think families are looking for ways to stretch their food dollars a little further. And the Rescue Mission can help on a day like Thanksgiving to make their meal special with their children," said Thornton.
That warm meal and service is something everyone dining at the Rescue Mission can be thankful for this holiday season.