SAN DIEGO — San Diego Rescue Mission held their annual Thanksgiving feast in Bankers Hill on Saturday, giving unsheltered and low-income residents a hot meal with all the fixings.
The feast was the first of three outreach meals hosted by the nonprofit each year during the holiday season. During these events, attendees also have access to free showers and haircuts, as well as toiletries.
“It’s great, I think they are doing a lovely job and the food is great,” a San Diego resident, Marcus Rouse, told FOX 5 at the dinner. Rouse has gone to the Rescue Mission’s Thanksgiving feast each year for the last three years.
As he explained, what keeps him coming back each year is “good people here we get to meet … so it’s really fun. I like it here.”
While hot meals are the main event, volunteers say that serving food is just the tip of the iceberg.
“The most important thing is coming to these kinds of events and helping people feel like they matter, because they do,” said David Seider, a 15-year Rescue Mission volunteer. “(It) is (to) really connect with people and help them realize that God loves them and that there is hope for them, and there is a path to get them into a better life.”
The main service that Rescue Mission provides year-round supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness. The Thanksgiving feast serves as an outreach tool for that program.
“I think this meal gives us a chance to say it’s not over — we can help you, there are people that care about you,” said San Diego Rescue Mission President and CEO Donnie Dee.
For Saturday’s event, Dee said they prepared to serve up to a thousand meals to San Diegans.
“I think San Diego is a very philanthropic, service-oriented community. The issues matter to them, I feel this meal is about life-giving,” Dee said.