Community steps up for Rescue Mission's neediest year


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Whether you were the one sitting at the table or the one serving food, it was a gathering full of holiday spirit and togetherness at the Rescue Mission of Utica.

"The people that are coming, they just feel cared for and that's the atmosphere we want," said Ernie Talerico, Operations Director at the Rescue Mission of Utica.

The community stepped up at a time when the need was greater than ever before.

"Our meals are up. We're probably looking at, at least 100 if not more meals this year than last year. Again,  the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) some of the reduction in that, the way the economy is slowly coming back. People are hurting right now," said Talerico.

But, those who are hurting were given a reason to be thankful.

"I'm grateful, I showed humility and I'm grateful for my sobriety," said Arthur King, who has relied on the Rescue Mission for help.

"These people are wonderful. They do a lot, for Utica and all around," said Donald Blake, who is part of the Rescue Mission's residential program.

Over 100 volunteers are spending their Thanksgiving making meals and they're as thankful as the people they're helping.

"It's just nice to come out for a day, one small day and just give back a little bit. It's just you know, you see someone's eyes light up when you wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. It's more than worth it," said Nick Piccininni, a volunteer.

They served 300 meals at the Rescue Mission and delivered 800 more and that's not all they were handing out.

"It's a blessing to share love with others at this time which some people people who don't have family and friends and I like being with others," said Karen McIntyre, a volunteer.

The Rescue Mission needs help feeding the needy every day. For information on how you can help, visit:

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