News 12 First at Five / Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The Augusta Rescue Mission's Love Day Meal is filling people up in more ways than one.
"Feels good, full of love," Chris Lewis said.
A stomach full of food and a heart full of love -- that's what Augusta Rescue Mission volunteers say they hoped to provide to the hundreds of homeless people who came to get a meal on Thursday.
"Each year the people come in, you'll see smiles on their faces, and sometimes there's not a lot to smile about," said Executive Director of Augusta Rescue Mission Rusty Marsh.
Conchita Ann Hall is unemployed admits that she was feeling down on Thursday. That's why she decided to stop by the Augusta Rescue Mission Love Day Meal.
"Who's gonna hire a 53-year-old woman going on 54? So I just go somewhere to be cheered up, that's all," Hall said.
It might start with the food, but Augusta Christian student volunteer Emma Claire Merry says she knows they're giving these people something even more valuable.
"We're giving just like the greater gift is what it feels like. Being able to share the best valentine, God's love," she said.
"We're restoring relationships here. We're restoring hope. We're providing the bare necessities that everybody needs, food, clothing and shelter," Marsh said.
Thanks to a new partnership with the New Beginnings Ministry, they'll be able to give even more. On Thursday, they launched the grand opening of their food and clothing distribution center.
"They will purchase food. They'll distribute food, and we'll distribute clothing to anybody that needs it free of charge," Marsh explained.
It's a whole warehouse in downtown Augusta to serve the people who need it most.
Hall admits she needs a little help sometimes, but she was smiling ear to ear as she pulled out a Valentine's Day gift she won.
It was a pillow in the shape of a heart to celebrate the day, but to Hall, it was more than just a valentine.
"To me, it is something to keep my body warm. I be out there in the streets all the time," she said.
The new warehouse will be open the first and third Saturdays of every month from 8 to 11 a.m. They're asking for donations, and food is a big need right now.