Valley Rescue Mission feeds more than 1,000 people for Thanksgiv - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Valley Rescue Mission feeds more than 1,000 people for Thanksgiving

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Thanksgiving can be a difficult day for those who cannot afford to have a nice family dinner at home, but organizations like The Valley Rescue Mission work to make sure everyone is fed for the holidays.

Valley Rescue Mission has been in operation for 50 years. Today, more than 100 volunteers  helped in the annual Thanksgiving banquet to provide a free Thanksgiving meal for those in need.

"Based upon what we saw last year, we are providing just under a thousand meals today," says Donna Pearce, the Director of the Valley Rescue Mission. "We have been doing this for 49 years, and we will do this again Christmas as well."

The banquet started at noon and finished before 1:30 p.m. The Irizarry siblings, Glorimar and Andre, have been volunteering on Thanksgiving at the Valley Rescue Mission for 13 years now.

"It's our opportunity to give back," says Glorimar. "My parents raised me and my brother that way. I don't see it as a sacrifice. I see it as an opportunity to be with my family and make new friends."

Andre attends Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. He does not get to come home to Columbus often, and he says he was looking forward to volunteering with his family on Thanksgiving.

"I think we like the family value here," Andre said. "It's a Christian place, so I like that message. We love fellowship."

Although Thanksgiving might be a fulfilling holiday for the volunteers and others, it can also be a challenging day for people like Mark Brown. He has not seen his son Jeremiah in months after he moved to Phenix City, Ala. with his mother.

"I came to the banquet because I am less fortunate," Mark Brown said. "I lost my job last year, and I am unemployed. It hurts me that I am not with my family, especially my son. But I still thank God, and I wanted to tell my son that I still love him even though we are apart for Thanksgiving this year."

The Valley Rescue Mission, located at 2903 2nd Ave. in Columbus, Ga., regularly provides free meal at 4 p.m. everyday. They will also hold another special dinner banquet for on Christmas.

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