Bay Area Rescue Mission gives ‘boxes of hope’ to people in need

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Bay Area Rescue Mission gives ‘boxes of hope’ to people in need
The Bay Area Rescue Mission in Richmond handed out 1,000 Thanksgiving food dinners to people facing poverty as part of a 40 year tradition. (All photos by Kathy Chouteau)

By Kathy Chouteau

They’re called “boxes of hope,” and by the looks on the faces of the people receiving them, they deliver precisely what they promise.

Today in the Bay Area Rescue Mission’s Richmond parking lot, the organization’s workers bees were busy giving away 1,000 Thanksgiving food bags—including turkey with all the dressings—to people facing poverty as part of a 40 year tradition there. According to Mission Director, John Anderson, the aptly named boxes of hope “will help those forced to make the hard decision of either paying rent, utilities, or putting a traditional Thanksgiving meal on their table.”

Community members signed up online and in-person for their free meals and then started lining up at 9 a.m. today in socially distanced lines to proceed through the various food stations. Intermittently, Dr. Malcolm Lee took to the podium to offer some words of encouragement from the Bible to those awaiting their turn. Workers said they expect to be distributing meals throughout the day.

According to Mission VP of Development Stephanie Sewell, on average they serve local people in need approximately 48,000 meals per month. Since the pandemic struck, Sewell said that the number of monthly meals has skyrocketed to 120,000 people.

“Our goal is to try and meet the need, which is much greater now,” added Marshelle Wilburn, manager of Volunteer Services. “We’ve already given away probably about over a million meals this year alone. And so we’re just adding another thousand food boxes on top of that so that people can have a holiday meal in their home during these very difficult times.”

To support the Bay Area Rescue Mission’s work helping people facing poverty, click here

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