Durham church, Rescue Mission prepare to feed hundreds day before Thanksgiving

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Outside Emanuel Presbyterian in North Durham, a line stretched around the neighborhood for their weekly food bank on Wednesday.

The caravan of vehicles was full of people who are desperate for help.

"I don't have food in the house," said one driver who did not want to be identified.

The driver's passenger said he lost his job in February and has since been juggling bills and a mortgage on a fixed income.

They arrived six hours before the food bank opened.

"The later you come the worse it's going to get. The first few get the best choices," said the passenger, who also did not want to be identified. "There's another church we'll go to--we'll probably be there at 6 a.m. in the morning. We shouldn't live in this so-called free country and live like this. All they have to do is pass another stimulus package--months ago."

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Chandler Murphy, who is from New York but moved back to Durham to help her disabled father, said she waited in line for five hours and used the time to meditate.

"I'm just so grateful that I have the ability to wake up in the morning to get to this very spot in order to have the ability to get the food," said Murphy.

Each box donated Wednesday will contain a whole chicken for Thanksgiving.

Nearly 18% of families across North Carolina face food insecurity ahead of the holiday, according to researchers at North Carolina Central University. They surveyed 1300 people in 97 of the state's 100 counties. The Tar Heel state ranks 10th in the country for children who go hungry.

Some people in the lines said they plan to share items in those boxes.

Meanwhile, the Durham Rescue Mission is preparing to cook dozens of Turkeys ahead of Thanksgiving.

Thursday, 30 volunteers will be delivering close to 900 boxed meals throughout the community. The boxes will go to the elderly, disabled and families in low-income housing.

Each family will also get a $20 gift card to use at the Durham Rescue Mission Thrift Store.

"Those people who are alone today that don't have someone to talk to or to fellowship with on Thanksgiving Day--I don't know what's worse for them: COVID or being alone, so we are doing the best we can to make sure someone is knocking on their door and wishing them Happy Thanksgiving and bringing them a Thanksgiving meal," said Rob Tart, chief operating officer for the mission.

He said all of the support is possible through community donations.
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