(Photo: Waterfront Rescue Mission)
Waterfront Rescue Mission, a Christian charity with headquarters in Pensacola, Fla., and two other locations in the state as well as in and Alabama, is preparing for a major Thanksgiving dinner in what will be a continuation of a holiday tradition practiced by the institution since 1949.
The Christian organization has provided food, shelter and clothing to the homeless in the greater Pensacola area for over 60 years. The mission serves luncheons to those in need on an everyday basis, but during the holidays, employees and local volunteers serve a wedding-size banquet to the homeless and disenfranchised, the mission's representative told The Christian Post Friday.
This year also, two big holiday banquets – for Thanksgiving and Christmas – are already under preparation at three of the mission's locations, in Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and Mobile, Ala.
"We always invite anyone that is homeless or in need of a Thanksgiving meal to come down to any of our three missions," Sophia Young, the mission's Development Associate told CP over the phone. "It's going to be a traditional Thanksgiving meal with a turkey and all the fixings."
The mission is bracing to accommodate some 500 guests at each location this year, Young said. Though the numbers vary depending on a year, it is always in the several-hundreds.
Helping the poor by providing meals has been the mission’s tradition since 1949, Young told CP. The leftovers from the holiday meals are usually distributed on the following day.
As it does every year, the mission is encouraging via their website and word of mouth local community members to volunteer their time during the holiday season.
On an average day, the mission also offers help in recovery and career development programs for homeless men and women with drug and alcohol addictions.
"Our aim at the Waterfront Rescue Mission is to 'Demonstrate God's Goodness by Providing Rescue and Recovery Services in Jesus' Name,'" the institution's mission statement says.
In 2010, the group served a total of 222,459 people, many of those on Thanksgiving day, according to Fox 10 TV.