Rescue mission

Rescue Mission of Salt Lake offers Thanksgiving meals to the homeless

Serving others on Thanksgiving time “has changed us,” said Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, who spent Monday afternoon with more than 100 volunteers serving the usual holiday repairs to homeless people. the city.

“Being able to share with our amazing friends, who don’t have some of the blessings that we have, and see them for who they are – their true humanity,” Cox said, adding that the experience had changed his perspective. from the first time he and his family volunteered for the Salt Lake Rescue Mission eight years ago. He applauded the help of so many people at this difficult time of the year.

“We appreciate all of our volunteers, many of my staff and others who have come – the best way for me to find gratitude is to give back and we have the opportunity to do so today,” Cox said. “I am so grateful for this mission and what it does to change lives and bless people.”

Utah Governor Spencer Cox and Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson serve a Thanksgiving dinner at the Salt Lake City Rescue Mission in Salt Lake City on Monday, November 22, 2021.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Monday’s Thanksgiving banquet included a sit-down meal at the mission, where many homeless people in Salt Lake City gathered to enjoy the typical spread, but were also given access to shoes and clothing as the temperatures outside took off. dropped, as well as influenza and COVID- 19 vaccines.

Volunteers also delivered meals to other resource centers and homeless camps on Monday.

Chris Croswhite, executive director of the rescue mission, said the mission has been hosting the same Thanksgiving banquet for at least 20 years.

“Our homeless community, especially during the holidays, feels like society is just passing by and sometimes feels like it’s nobody,” Croswhite said. “When we host a banquet for them, they can feel a sense of identity – that they are not forgotten.”

The mission prepared 1,200 meals for serving over a four-hour period, including meals delivered by shuttle bus across town, he said.

“We really hope that today we will have 600 to 800 people through the door.”

Croswhite and Cox both stressed the importance of volunteers and community support to help organize and sponsor the banquet. Croswhite said the mission normally had six to 20 volunteers per day, with that number rising to around 100 on the day of the banquet.

“It’s absolutely amazing how the greater Salt Lake area has stepped up its volunteer activities – although we have a very good relationship with the state, city, and county, we don’t receive any of these funds,” Croswhite said. “We are completely dependent on the local community saying they believe in the rescue mission model and financially sponsor our banquets and financially sponsor men and women on our recovery program and seeking shelter.”

Utah Governor Spencer Cox holds plates as volunteers put food on them during a Thanksgiving dinner at the Salt Lake Rescue Mission in Salt Lake City on Monday.

Utah Governor Spencer Cox holds plates as volunteers put food on them during a Thanksgiving dinner at the Salt Lake Rescue Mission in Salt Lake City on Monday.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The banquet is also an opportunity for the mission to provide the homeless community with basic necessities beyond food, such as clothes and shoes.

“We have over 500 pairs of brand new boots and socks, so we want to make sure people have proper footwear, especially if they live outside, as that can be a defining issue,” Croswhite said. . . He said that by providing tangible, life-saving and life-saving materials, the mission is better equipped to achieve its goal of building relationships in the hope of helping people move out of homelessness.

“When they want to change, then we have the relationship and the trust already established so that we can start talking about their lives when they want to change – and that can be essential to having that relationship at the right time,” said Croswhite. .

In operation since 1972, the Salt Lake Rescue Mission takes care of Utah’s most vulnerable populations in two ways: emergency services and addiction recovery.

Emergency services include a day and night shelter for the homeless, three hot meals a day, showers, clothing, laundry, transitional housing and employment counseling.