DURHAM, North Carolina (WTVD) --An all-night cook-a-thon kicked off Thursday in preparation for Friday's big meal.
Volunteers stood guard over hunks of pork shoulder that slow-cooked until the early morning hours Friday. The food will feed over 1,000 neighbors in need at the Durham Rescue Mission's big Easter event.
On Thursday, the volunteers hauled in the donated pork on carts - unboxing more than 800 pounds of meat. Then it was off to the grills that are lined up like small army tanks in a tent outside the mission.
"I mean cooking 800 pounds of barbecue -- not everyone gets to say they get to do that," Murphy Rumple said. "If this helps the community and helps those men, it's all worth it."
For Rumple, now in his eighth straight year as a volunteer, the payoff is simple.
"Just the fellowship of being with all these men and seeing all the work that the Durham Rescue Mission does," Rumple said.
It's an organization relied upon by nearly 2/3 of the city's homeless; many of whom will arrive Friday for the Easter feast they may not otherwise get.
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"Makes you feel good, that's the fuzzy feeling," said Chester Rives.
That fuzzy feeling has kept Rives coming back as a volunteer for the last 15 years. Well, that and the smiles and good-natured ribbing these volunteer cookers are known for. Rives had plenty of jokes about his buddy's extra-vinegary barbecue sauce.
"Paint remover!" Rives joked about the strong concoction. "It's good sauce. We rib each other about our sauces."
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Each year the mission makes sure every child leaves with an Easter basket. Donations were slow this year. A week and half ago, they only had 180 baskets. But this Holy Week has opened the flood gates. Donations poured in. They've gone from 180 baskets to nearly 1,700.
"We started calling people, churches and usually near the end they start responding pretty fast. And, they just start coming in," said Richard Dial, a staffer at Durham Rescue Mission.
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