Holiday preps underway at Rescue Mission


Wednesday evening, a couple dozen basketball players from Durham's Riverside High showed up to help.

"It's just about them becoming men," said Riverside Assistant Basketball Coach Brian Whyte.

In this case, they are dishing out holiday assists with the Durham's Rescue Mission.

"It's a good turnout for us. It's a good opportunity," said Riverside basketball player Jake Cush. "It's good experience for all of us. It teaches us to be thankful for what we have."

"We set up sort of an assembly line where people are taking the wrapping off, taking the gizzards out -- neck and giblets and all that," said Durham Rescue Mission volunteer Jeffrey Housen. "Making sure they're all cleaned up. And we throw them on the grill and we're ready to go."

Eighty turkeys end up on huge grills where veteran volunteers like Housen will keep a close watch overnight.

"They'll be done probably at three or four o'clock in the morning," said Housen.

That's when a new set of volunteers will clock in to carve up the meat and prepare the side dishes for roughly 1,600 people who might otherwise go without a holiday meal.

"We do it because we're a part of the community, and we want to give back because they so graciously give to us," said Tony Gooch, of the Durham Rescue Mission.

It's a task increasingly challenging because of a slow economy and rising food prices.

"We've seen our food costs go up 75 percent," said Gooch. "So, we see the need that's coming down where the checks that the government are sending have stopped because moneys just run out. People just have nowhere else to go."

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