On Christmas Day, the Niagara Gospel Rescue Mission and an army of volunteer "angels" continued their "Feed the Falls" tradition, delivering more than 800 meals to needy area residents who might not otherwise have received a hot meal, a compassionate and warm smile, or any good news at all Christmas Day.
The fourth annual "Feed the Falls" event began weeks ago as hundreds of community volunteers, including those from about 30 local churches, combined forces to coordinate shopping, preparing, packaging and delivering hundreds of both Thanksgiving and Christmas Day turkey dinners with all the trimmings. Meals were delivered throughout the City of Niagara Falls and surrounding communities in Niagara County to people including elderly shut-ins, single mothers with children, and struggling families who are trying to stretch what little they have each month.
Mission spokesperson Lynda Hauser said, "The good news of Jesus' birth that was first announced by angels over 2,000 years ago ... continues to be announced by our own 'angels' or messengers today! As we remember 'the reason for this season,' which is the greatest gift ever given from God, we're very grateful to give back - by meeting both the physical and deeper spiritual needs of people, sharing God's love, compassion and hope on this day, which we celebrate our Lord's birth. God truly opens hearts through compassionate giving!"
Shaun Smith, mission's executive director, said, "God calls us to care for those who are in need, whether alone, or simply short of resources to get by each day. We become the hands and feet of Jesus, sharing His love in both word and deed."
Gospel Rescue Mission serves more than 2,000 meals per month and holds chapel services at dinnertime to accomplish this goal every day.
"Caring for one's immediate physical needs may open a door for God to begin to meet their deeper spiritual needs," Smith said. "A simple meal is often a gateway to a transformed life, as people who are looking for hope and purpose in their lives can come to find it through the Gospel. ... God's expressed love and salvation through Jesus Christ. We are ever so grateful to help meet all of these needs through the Body of Christ, and many helpful friends here in Western New York."
Several churches, individuals, and businesses throughout Western New York come alongside to help support the mission and it's "Feed the Falls" Thanksgiving and Christmas Day events each year.