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How did you spend your Easter in the Mohawk Valley?
(WKTV) - On this Easter Sunday, did you get dressed up and head to a family member's for dinner, or maybe go out to eat?
Before all the good food, we caught up with a full house at Historic Old St. John's Church in Utica. Parishioner Gabby Labella says she looks forward to this entire day.
She said, "it's a day to spend with family and to remember family members we lost and of course, it's the religious season so that's very important for us as well."
We also caught up with a hug crowd for the Easter Brunch at The Raddison in downtown Utica. Philip Toracco, the Director of Food & Beverage says this is a day that keeps everyone on their toes.
He said, "this and Mother's day are our relatively busiest days of the year. We do 1000 to 1200 people on either of those days, beating out Christmas and Thanksgiving, where we usually do 600 to 800 on those days."
We caught up with another full house, this time at the Rome Rescue Mission on East Dominck Street in Rome, where they expected to serve 200 meals inhouse and another 100 meals to those who can't make it out on this Easter.
Anne Carruthers of Oneida volunteers her time every year atteh Rome Rescue Mission. She said, "it's a good feeling. I'm still going to see family members later in the day. I'm glad to do it, it feels good. I probably get more out it than anybody else does."
The Rome Rescue Mission is a place many come to spend their Easter, including Executive Director Matt Miller who says he thought he would be serving here for only a couple of years.
Miller says, "I did, 18 years ago, and what changed my heart in a sense was the children that were hanging on as we closed, and just pleaded with us not to close and not to go home."
So, for the past 18 years, he has helped make the lives of people in Rome better, not just on Easter, but every day of the year. People like Matt Kilborn, a resident at the Rome Rescue Mission, whom he himself is helping others today with meals to be delivered.
He said, "just here trying to straighten my life out, my family kind of disowned me, and they were disappointed, and other people were disappointed so I came here to start a new life. Tthe staff has been very supportive, a little rough on me but tough love is what you need sometimes."
Kilborn says he has had problems with drugs and has now been clean for 36 days. He says today is extra special for him, even though he is not with his own family. He said, "seeing the smiles on the kids faces, when they open their Easter basket, or get food, They're just so grateful, and it's just an awesome program we've got going here at the mission."
Matt Miller says Easter is the biggest day of the year for him. He said, "for us, it's the most important holiday. We are celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is a rebirth, it's a chance, it's hope. And we like to bring that message everyday, but particularly on Easter sunday."
He goes on to add about Easter at the mission. He said, "when I look out in the dining room here today, I don't see poor people, I see untapped resources, untapped talent and untapped futures."
Miller says he would like to thank the community members who donate all year long so the mission can put on it's programs all year, not just today's Easter Brunch.