RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Hundreds of people served Thanksgiving dinner by the Raleigh Rescue Mission didn’t have to leave their homes.
About 100 volunteers prepared and delivered many meals across Wake County as part of the 12th annual Gobbles to Go program.
“On Thanksgiving, Meals on Wheels doesn’t do their deliveries, so Raleigh Rescue Mission has taken over, and they’re gonna be delivering today between 700 and 750 meals,” volunteer Bonnie Altman said.
This is Altman’s 11th year helping at the Rescue Mission. She comes every week, but said she looks forward to the big holiday delivery events every year.
Mary Golden and her family have not missed a Gobbles to Go since its inception.
“We started doing this when the kids were little to help build their awareness of other people at this time of year, who have less than they do. They enjoy it and it’s become a tradition for us,” Golden said.
She said she gets emotional, “watching my kids develop their own sense of empathy and feeling like you make a difference. Building community, and helping our own community in a small way.”
Seven-year-old Oren Yang joined his parents, Lisa and Kenton, making deliveries in the Knightdale area. Board member Emalie Levine brought her husband Kent and their children, Andy and Gracie, to take food to people in and near Wake Forest.
“I do a lot of the volunteering during the day when my children are at school, and so this is a nice opportunity for all four of us to serve as a family. We’ve probably been doing this about four or five years,” Emalie Levine said.
“For some folks, like the last two people we visited, we might be the only people they see during the day,” she said.
“For those that can’t get out, they’re the forgotten ones, and we don’t want them to be forgotten.”
Raleigh Rescue Mission spokesperson Lauri Para, whose husband Ryan and 11-year-old son Ben came to the food prep site, said she is glad to see Gobbles to Go be a family activity.
“I just love seeing people of all ages giving back, kind of carrying that tradition along to the youngest members of their family. I just think it’s beautiful,” Para said.
The Rescue Mission will make deliveries again at Christmas. They are always looking for more volunteers.