Christmas came early to Santa Barbara's Rescue Mission as volunteers cooked up an annual holiday feast on Friday. The Mission's dinner is a restaurant-style Christmas Feast that serves hundreds of meals each holiday. The dining hall at the mission is decorated to give the meal more of a festive holiday spirit.
While hundreds will eat what dozens prepared in the dining hall, members of the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission Women's Auxiliary stage gift-giving out in the parking lot. Each person who arrives for dinner receives a gift bag, to ensure no one goes without Christmas presents. The gifts are placed on tables, so recipients can choose what they really need, from items such as sweatshirts, beanies, gloves and socks.
"There are hundreds of hungry, hurting souls in Santa Barbara who have lost everything, can't find a job, are enslaved by drugs or alcohol, or even find themselves homeless," said Rolf Geyling, president of the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission in a news release. "Nothing is as rewarding this special season as seeing our community's most vulnerable find the food, help, and holiday hope they need at the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission."
The Rescue Mission provides overnight shelter to people year round in addition to emergency services and recovery for people dealing with drug or alcohol addiction. The mission operates without government funding, but is certified by the state Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs for its recovery programs.