Hundreds of families receive free food, clothing and toys in giveaway hosted by Durham Rescue Mission

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DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Christmas arrived early for hundreds of adults and children Saturday.

The parking lot at the Durham Rescue Mission downtown transformed into a one stop shop for gifts, food and support for families in need.

Chanel Small belongs to one of those families.

The 9-year-old comes every year with her loved ones and really enjoys it.

"Because kids can be happy and we get presents. And they can be happy for what they have," said Small.

Monique, Chanel's mom, is thankful for the Durham Rescue Mission. The mother of four is unemployed.

"I got some socks and some groceries," Monique said. "I tell my kids not to be ashamed to ask for anything. If you need help and nobody know that you need help unless you open your mouth."

For 44 years, Dr. Ernie Mills, co-founder of the Durham Rescue Mission has opened the organization's heart to the community. In return, the community reaches back with generosity.

4,000 volunteers donated their time and much needed items; efforts that will help families beyond the holidays.

"Like we say down south, 'Y'all come, we've got it ready,'" stated Mills.

There was so much to offer families: 10,000 pieces of clothing, 2,300 toys, 1,500 hot dogs, and 100 turkeys and hams were each cooked and served to families and people without a home, like Sawyer Crowder, who says in one month the Mission has turned his life around.

"It shows me that there are still people left in the world that care," Crowder said. "It shows me God's love for us. That's what Christmas is about."

If you would like to support the Durham Rescue Mission, you can click here.
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