Waterfront Mission volunteers prepare Christmas meals for homeless, food insecure

Escambia County

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Volunteers were hard at work preparing meals Thursday, Dec. 23 for Waterfront Rescue Mission’s 72nd Christmas feeding.

Waterfront set a goal earlier this year to feed 5,000 meals to the homeless and food insecure during the holiday season. There were 2,500 meals served at Thanksgiving and 2,500 more will be served in the next few days.

Angie Ishee, Executive Vice President at Waterfront Rescue Mission, explains how much work is needed to accomplish the non-profit’s goals.

“We started preparing food for feeding 2,500 meals at Christmas time the first week of December,” said Ishee. “It takes about 140 volunteers to pull off a feeding of this magnitude.”

Volunteers were at the mission Thursday morning, plating turkey, sweet potato casserole and other holiday favorites to bring a smile to the face of thousands along the Gulf Coast this Christmas.

“We provide over 100,000 meals a year, but it’s during the holidays that we focus on a broader audience — not just homeless but people who might have food insecurities or other reasons,” Ishee said. “People who also might be lonely. People who might suffering from depression or might be alienated from family. We can’t even think of a better time to reach out to them to meet those unmet needs.”

One volunteer, Freddie Cattouse, has volunteered several days this week at Waterfront to help get the meals ready.

“I love to volunteer to help where I can,” Cattouse said. “I might not be able to do it financially, but I can do it with my time.”

Cattouse, who has had some hard times throughout her life, said it’s important to give back during the holidays.

“It’s encouraged me to encourage others,” she said. “I’m so grateful to be able to prepare what I can while I’m here because people don’t realize how blessed we truly are.”

Ishee said donations are always welcome at Waterfront, especially during the holidays where they need coats and warm weather clothing to give out to the homeless. Nonperishable food items are also appreciated.

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