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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Rescue Mission feeds hundreds a Thanksgiving meal early

In addition to a meal, the Rescue Mission gave away backpacks with supplies for those in need.

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Rescue Mission opened its doors for its annual Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday. News 8 talked to many people in line who said they are just happy to get a hot meal.

With a line stretching around the block on Elm Street in Downtown San Diego,  hundreds of homeless and low-income San Diegans lined up for hours to get some warm Thanksgiving turkey and mashed potatoes.

One person said, “The good Lord woke me up to have this meal.”

The pandemic and all of the symptoms of it has hit the homeless population hard and with Thanksgiving around the corner, it’s hard not to have a bleak outlook on life.

CEO of the San Diego Rescue Mission, Donnie Dee said, “We want those who are experiencing homelessness to be thankful for a meal and all that we're going to give them to try to encourage them at this stage in life.”

She added, “I know that it'll be a different Thanksgiving for everybody. It's certainly a different Thanksgiving today for the people that we're serving.”

In order to serve meals and keep things COVID safe, Dee and his team of volunteers planned this dinner for weeks. After receiving their meal, attendees were able to take it to go or bring it into the Rescue Mission’s “dining room” which was their parking garage the other day. It’s a place where you can enjoy your meal with company around a table.

In addition to a meal, the Rescue Mission gave away backpacks with supplies for those in need.

“There's a blanket inside. That backpack that was made by a local church. There's an encouraging note. There's a hygiene kit, there's a pair of socks and there is a power bar. And so inside that backpack is really something that will be more than a meal for them today and they can take with them as they go,” said Dee.

Times are tough, especially for those who are experiencing homelessness on the streets. But Dee hopes that during this Thanksgiving, no matter where you are- you stop and remember what you’re thankful for.

“So whether you're having a meal by yourself or your family gathering is a little smaller, I just, I hope and pray that we can all say, ''hey, thanks for what I do have to be thankful for because it's there.' You just have to find it," said Dee.