City Rescue Mission feeds 1,000 on Christmas Eve

Mission also hands out Shoeboxes of Love donated through the holidays

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Almost 1,000 needy people were fed Wednesday thanks to the City Rescue Mission Christmas Banquet.

Every year the City Rescue Mission does a meal for the homeless for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmastime.

The City Rescue Mission wanted to help prevent local people from going hungry on Christmas Eve.

Darnell Brown just moved into the City Rescue Mission a few weeks ago. He was referred by a friend to come there for help.
"I've been on drugs for the longest and the only thing I was doing was messing up," Brown said. "I got to get straight, and this was the best program. I've tried all kinds of stuff."
Brown is going through the 18-month program and is hopeful for the future.

Another man taking advantage of the mission is Leroy McJett.
"It's nice to have a place to depend on," McJett said. "It's nice to have. These people are like family. They do a great job, they really do."
The mission not only fed locals Wednesday, it also handed out Shoeboxes of Love -- toiletries in a shoebox wrapped in a blanket, which many viewers donated and dropped off at Channel 4.

The mission said it's all part of the season of giving.

"We have a lot of homeless and needy people in Jacksonville, and sometimes I think people get wrapped up in the eating and the parties, so we try to stop and remember those who have less," Ruth Ann Hepler said.
And, of course, it wouldn't be possible without community donations and volunteers.
"I have absolutely everything I could ever need in my life, and it's just a good thing to do (to volunteer)," Joanna Middleburgs said.
The mission serves the homeless 365 days a year.

Because it's a nonprofit, it depends on donations for success.

To help them help others, go to http://www.crmjax.org

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