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Albany homeless numbers drive food need

Published: Nov. 9, 2011 at 9:13 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2011 at 5:17 PM EST
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The Albany Rescue Mission is now serving close to 10,000 meals a month, and they say they need the communities help to keep up with demand.

The Albany Rescue Mission will mail out ten thousand letters, asking the community to help them feed the hungry, especially in the holidays.

The Mission says they will feed Thanksgiving and Christmas meals to all who come, and hand out meal bags to families in need, counting on faith to have the food to do it.

More than 100 people leave the noon worship service at the Albany Rescue Mission, and line up for lunch. Among them Willie Smith, who has been part of the Albany Rescue Mission program for five months.

He sees the increasing number of homeless. "The crowd is growing and growing and growing. It seems like every week we get 5 or 6 more people. People are steadily coming,"  Smith said.

Brother Larry Hample founded the Rescue Mission, feeding three meals a day 7 days a week. But he says the rapidly increasing numbers of homeless make those meals more difficult everyday.

"This goes on everyday. And I understand some agencies have stopped feeding. I mean some of the ministries. It's bad. Hard times," Hample said.

And Hample says it's not just people with drug or alcohol problems. They are seeing people who have lost their jobs and homes and have nowhere else to go. But now their shelters for both men and women and kids are full, with many more hoping for a place to sleep.

The Mission also provides food bags for families that say they are hungry. The need is so great now they are appealing to the community for non-perishable food items, to fill those bags and restock their pantry for the daily meals.

"We're maxed out,"  Hample said.

With the holidays just weeks away, Brother Hample says the Rescue Mission will have celebration meals Thanksgiving and Christmas for all those in need, sure the Lord will provide the food.

"Turkey and trimmings both days. Same way with Christmas, both the day before and the day of. So it's like a double feast."

But you are counting on the Lord to provide the food? "Amen. Yes, sir."

Hample is asking you to help feed the hungry of Albany with donations of non perishable foods, or a donation.

Willie Hunter says the Albany Rescue Mission has made a dramatic difference in his life, and without it dozens of people would go hungry.

"This place is like a beacon in the night. For a person this is kinda lost and with no direction," Hunter said.

The Albany Rescue Mission does not receive government funding, so they are relying on the community for their growing need.

Brother Larry started the Rescue Mission out of his home in 1989, and has seen the numbers coming for help grow steadily. But he says in recent months the increase has been dramatic. Now he is relying on the Lord, and asking the community to help his ministry.

You can take donations to the Albany Rescue Mission at 604 North Monroe Street.  You can also contact them by clicking HERE...

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