Giving to the homeless and the needy increased in numbers this Christmas for over 200 faith-based ministries affiliated with the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM).
In Fort Wayne, Ind., the number of people served nearly quadrupled this year, according to an article published by the Christian Post on Saturday.
“Because of the impact of the economy, homelessness is on the rise,” Donovan Coley, senior pastor of the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission, told local news station WANE-TV. “We see individuals who aren’t homeless, but they’re just having a hard time making ends meet. And so that number has also increased,” he added.
In Utica, N.Y., more than 200 volunteers served Christmas Day dinner to around 400 people at the Utica Rescue Mission.
In Springfield, Mass., volunteers cooked and served Christmas Eve dinner for more than 200 people at the Springfield Rescue Mission. And in Jacksonville, Fla., more than 500 people were fed at the City Rescue Mission's annual Christmas Day meal.
The Christian Post reported that among the largest crowds served this week were the thousands who showed up for the Christmas meal Wednesday at the Gospel Rescue Mission in Tucson, Ariz. With the help of nearly 400 volunteers, the rescue mission served up more than 3,600 turkey dinners and another 2,500 hot dogs for children during this year’s annual event.
Pastor Roy E. Tullgren III, executive director of Tucson Gospel Rescue Mission, told the Arizona Daily Star that attendance at this year's event was up about 25 percent from the 2008 banquet.
"On the one hand, it's good we had the food to feed the people and toys to give out," he said. "On the other hand, it's very hard to see the state of affairs in terms of the economy and people needing help."
Every year, faith-based ministries that are members of AGRM serve approximately 42 million meals, provide more than 15 million nights of lodging, distribute more than 27 million pieces of clothing, bandage the wounds of hundreds of abuse victims, and graduate 18,000-plus homeless men and women from addiction recovery programs into productive living.
Source: Christian Post