ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Since 1964, the Rockford Rescue Mission has provided meals and a warm bed for the homeless.
On Wednesday, the Rescue Mission held its annual Thanksgiving Banquet.
Sisters Aubree, 7th grade, and Kayleigh, 6th, spent the day before Thanksgiving making sure others were fed.
“It feels good to help and support them,” Kayleigh said.
Together, Kayleigh and Aubree handed out plates during the 55th Thanksgiving dinner.
Kayleigh says she’s glad to be volunteering for those who mean the most to her.
“It feels good to know that I’m with my family and they’re doing it, too,” she said.
Hundreds of Rockford’s homeless came out to enjoy the meal.
Crystal Savage, Director of Marketing and Communications, said, “We have everything that you would have at home for Thanksgiving. We have turkey, we have potatoes, we have stuffing, we have green beans, we have pie, we have coffee.”
One of those who dined Wednesday was William Lindel, who is staying at the Mission until he overcomes his alcohol addiction.
“I have a new baby girl. She’s going to be one on the 10th, and I don’t ever want her to know me like that, so it was definitely time for a change,” he said.
Now over 150 days sober, Lindel says the men he’s met at the Rescue Mission have become like family, making the meal extra special.
“I live with the guys upstairs, in the residency, so they’re like a big family to me and I’m really happy for it,” he said. “I think it’s a blessing. We get to come together and share camaraderie we get to have with everybody, and the sharing of stories with families. The laughter [is] really good. It feels like home.”
Savage said, “Everyone has a family or a home to enjoy the holiday meal with, and we just feel so blessed to have our community here. This is our big family that we have here today, and we’re just so excited to celebrate with them.
After the meal, the Rescue Mission handed out gloves, hats, scarves, and blankets to any in need of them.
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