Hundreds of people in Santa Maria were treated to an early Thanksgiving meal at the annual Central Coast Rescue Mission’s community banquet at the Veterans Memorial Building.
The Central Coast Rescue Mission held its free banquet early to raise awareness of the growing need in the community for those less fortunate.
“We chose an earlier date this year because we wanted to have the opportunity to prepare hearts for the holidays”, said Central Coast Rescue Mission Director Jon Bronkowski, “before the business takes over and distracts from the true reason we do what we do.”
“This is more than a meal to us, it’s a chance to bring the community together in one place, to bring hope to individuals who need it, and to help people see the impact they can have on one another’s lives”, Bronkowski said.
A small army of volunteers was needed to prepare and serve the traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings at the Veterans Memorial Building with no one turned away.
“Two weeks before Thanksgiving, the community of Santa Maria and the Central Coast as a whole has come together to support this event where we’re going to feed 800 to 1,000 people”, Bronkowski said, “there’s coats, there’s blankets, if we run out of those individuals can come to our Thrift Store and we have a program that’s in place where people can find help there too, so we’re not going to turn people away in need, and it wouldn’t happen if we weren’t unified as a city.”
The Central Coast Rescue Mission offers a wide range of life changing treatment programs that address the whole person, body, mind and spirit.
“The Rescue Mission is a place of refuge, we’re going to meet people where they are at, it’s safe to be who you are, because everybody here is coming from a different walk of life”, Bronkowski said, “so this is a safe place to come and just experience love, hopefully that love leads to hope and that hope will allow people to dream again.”
The Central Coast Rescue Mission is always in need of cash donations and new clothing, especially socks and underwear.
With the cold weather returning, donations of coats, sweaters and blankets are also in need.
Donations can be made in person at the Central Coast Rescue Mission at 1207 North McClelland Street in Santa Maria.