Durham Rescue Mission will feed thousands at holiday feast

— A meal fit for a king was being prepared Thursday night and Friday as volunteers helped the Durham Rescue Mission prepare for its annual holiday feast.

More than 100 turkeys were on the grill as volunteers worked through the night to prepare for Friday’s holiday feast with all the trimmings.

For many volunteers, the opportunity to help others is a tradition.

“It’s very special to us to see the children getting toys, because my father and I never got toys as children,” said Ernie Mills, Jr., who started the organization with his family. “So many families here in Durham are struggling to make ends meet — they are using everything they make to pay bills and there’s not enough for Christmas for the children.”

“For us, it’s a chance to get to spend time, it’s a chance to get to help and it’s a chance to train others to get them to take over for us,” said volunteer Tony Dillard. “We have people who have gotten interested in what we did once. Now, they do this five, six, seven, eight, nine years now.”

Dillard and other volunteers have been putting together the holiday feast for more than 10 years. Some of the volunteers include Durham police officers.

The volunteers hope to feed more than 4,000 families and give away thousands of toys on Friday.

A special thank you to our friends at WRAL for helping out with this post.