HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Downtown Rescue Mission has been lending a hand to those in need in our community since 1974 and a long-standing tradition in Huntsville is the mission's holiday banquet.
"It's really joyful, we have a lot of volunteers. It’s a great community here that wants to serve and love on our guests here, so when they walk in, they feel the love instantly," says Kevin Mays with the Downtown Rescue Mission.
Guests were served all the holiday fixings, restaurant style.
"We want them to feel loved and accepted on this day," says Mays. "A lot of our guest are away from family at this time so we want them to know that we’re their family and that we want to serve them and love them in the way Christ has loved us.”
Charles Bethea came to the Downtown Rescue Mission to volunteer and brought along 25 members of his family.
"I have family that’s from Louisiana, from Maryland, and also from Texas that are here," says Bethea. "We get up in the morning, open presents and the kids already know that we’re going to come to Downtown Rescue Mission to volunteer to serve others."
Bethea says it's a family tradition to volunteer at the mission and it's important to teach younger generations to give back.
"My family is pretty fortunate and we have younger kids and we just want to be able to give them an appreciation for those that are less fortunate than others."
This year, the mission had over 75 volunteers focused on sharing love and serving the 300 plus guests at the mission. The Downtown Rescue Mission says they need volunteers year round, not just on the holidays. If you're interested in volunteering with the mission, visit their website and click on the get involved tab.