"They began lining up at four this morning, and the sign clearly says we don't start until 12," Ernie Mills, co-founder Durham Rescue Mission, said.
The need is so great this season, more and more people are lining up to get help. "They really feel like with the bad economy, if they don't get a toy here, they won't have a Christmas," Mills explained.
It takes 400 volunteers to provide the services. Some sort through and pass out 10,000 pieces of clothing.
"Everyone here is thrilled to be here, it's amazing," volunteer Scharme Privo said. "It gives back. I feel like they're giving to us. It really makes you feel wonderful."
At this year's Christmas party, the food is plentiful. The Rescue Mission has all ready prepared 125 turkeys, 3000 pounds of ham, green beans, corn, dressing, gravy, 5,000 toys and a children's carnival.
For seven years, Tanasha Brunson has been able to ensure her children have a merry Christmas because of the Durham Rescue Mission.
The need for many has increased because of the tough economy. Brunson says the community would suffer if the Rescue Mission wasn't around. "It's very important," Brunson said. "I think everyone should get something for Christmas to see the smiles on their faces. It's a good feeling for yourself."
Durham Rescue Mission schedule for week of Christmas:
- On Wednesday, Christmas Eve at 10:30 a.m., Christmas gifts (that were given through the Christmas Wish Tree at Northgate Mall) will be distributed to the women and children living at the Mission's Good Samaritan Inn. The morning festivities will consist of a Christmas brunch and giving the gifts to the women and children. All of the Christmas Eve events will take place at 507 E Knox Street (Exit 177 of I-85).
- On Christmas Eve at 12:00 noon, Mike Martino, General Manager of Sheraton Imperial in RTP, will serve his Annual Christmas Eve meal to the men at the Durham Rescue Mission. Martino and his son, Matthew, come to the Mission every year on Christmas Eve to serve a delicious meal---complete with linen tablecloth and napkins! This event takes place at the Men's Campus located at 1201 E Main St location.
- On Thursday, Christmas Day at 8:00 a.m. volunteers will help serve breakfast to the men at the Durham Rescue Mission. Following breakfast, Rev. Mills, Durham Rescue Mission Founder, will have a Christmas Chapel Service with the residents and then the Christmas gifts will be distributed to the men around 9 a.m. Christmas Day events will take place at 1201 E Main St location.