Temperatures Are Expected To Drop Into The Twenties For 3 Days Straight, Putting The Homeless Population At Risk.
Chattanooga, TN – A local nonprofit organization called The Union Gospel Mission is making sure that the homeless community is receiving a proper Christmas meal this year.
Volunteers gathered in front of the Bessie Smith Cultural Center on MLK Boulevard Wednesday afternoon to deliver the meals.
The Union Gospel Mission set up a table and passed out the pre-prepared meals to those that needed them.
The nonprofit also handed out “blessing bags” that contained winter items such as gloves and hats.
The group’s director, Jon Rector, explained to News 9 that food donation has been a now 70-year tradition for them.
“It’s how we celebrate Christmas. Some of our volunteers have been doing this 17 years. Some of our guests we see three times a year.”, Rector said.
Jon Rector says that The Union Gospel Mission is projected to deliver 400 ham and turkey dinners to homeless individuals this year.
Despite economic challenges posed by the pandemic, the nonprofit has sustained itself this year to keep precedent with their 70 years of charity.
“A lot of volunteers, a lot of prayer, community support… we have everybody from local businesses to churches, to families, to pitch in and donate,” said Rector.
The Community Kitchen is also working to provide Christmas to those without Christmas.
Community Kitchen volunteers have been going to homeless encampments and brining necessities to them directly.
Traditional Christmas meals will be provided at 10:30am to those in need at their facility, and Santa will be coming to hand out gifts.
Temperatures are expected to drop into the twenties on Christmas Eve and Christmas night, so the Community Kitchen will open their doors to the homeless overnight.
Rapid COVID-19 testing is administered at the door, and those that have the virus are directed to stay at the Salvation Army.