NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — The sounds of Thanksgiving morning for more than volunteers of the Niagara Falls Gospel Rescue Mission began with 300 friends and relatives forming an assembly line pumping out more than 1,400 for people who would otherwise go without this holiday season.
“We do not turn any calls away,” said Janet Scott, volunteer coordinator with the rescue mission. “If you call, we deliver.”
But in so many ways, what these volunteers deliver is much more than a scoop of stuffing, or a dollop of mashed potatoes and gravy.
“It’s a touch,” Scott said. “It’s showing people that we care about them, that you are not forgotten, that we are here for you, that you are not alone in this community.”
One hundred fifty-three driver teams will deliver 100 more meals this year than last, which mission leaders say is a socioeconomic reflection of Niagara Falls.
But with the growing need is a growing effort of people like Stephen Nuhfer and Keith Colvin, who began their day of giving thanks by giving back.
“Breaking bread together is one of the most important things you can do,” Colvin said. “You need to reach out to people that you don’t know. Perhaps you’ll deliver to your neighbors and people you know, but at the same time, this is a wonderful experience, meeting people you’ve never met before and saying Happy Thanksgiving. We celebrate our nation, we celebrate our faith in God and we want to get to know you, here’s a meal. Enjoy.”
Patti Jo Reynolds was one of the hundreds of Feed the Falls recipients. Her health prevents her from standing anywhere, let alone in front of an oven, for extended periods.
“If it wasn’t for this program, I’d probably be eating a peanut butter sandwich or something,” she said. “That woulda been my Thanksgiving for today.”
Instead, she said, she grew full before even taking the first bite.
“It doesn’t get any better,” she said. “It doesn’t get any better than that. After that, you don’t need no presents or nothing. Your day is made.”
It’s the third year of delivering meals for Nuhfer. He’ll be back for Christmas and for years to come.
“To go out there and see somebody that’s in need and help them through that,” he said. “And we don’t just deliver a meal. We build a relationship with people. It’s what we’re called to.”
Contact information for the Niagara Falls Gospel Rescue Mission can be found on their website.