FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The Rescue Mission is serving a free meal open to the community on the day before Thanksgiving.

The Rescue Mission will serve its largest holiday meal on Wednesday between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the 404 E. Washington Blvd. location.

Last Thanksgiving, more than 2,500 meals were served to individuals and families facing food insecurity and homelessness. That number is expected to increase to more than 4,000 this holiday season due to the number of unemployed and working poor who are in need.

The Rescue Mission is serving nearly three times the usual number of people and anticipates that number will continue to grow as the weather gets colder.

For the safety of the community, this year’s Thanksgiving meal will be served as a carry-out only meal. Masks are required to enter the building. There is a limit of four meals per individual.

“Poverty and homelessness present enormous obstacles to meeting basic needs such as food, shelter, and healthcare,” said Rev. Donovan Coley, Senior Pastor and CEO of The Rescue Mission. “These challenges are often exacerbated by health issues, mental illness and addictions. With significant barriers preventing access to healthy food, families facing poverty and homelessness remain at risk for experiencing long-term food insecurity. Our goal is to serve as many in the community as possible. We are able to accomplish this with the incredible generosity from our supporters.”

“Nearly 100 volunteers prepared turkeys for distribution during the weeks of November 8 through November 19,” Coley continued. “The event is known as ‘Turkeypalooza.’ Volunteers have prepared enough food for over 4,000 meals to ensure no one in our community goes hungry.”

On the menu this year is turkey, potatoes, green beans, stuffing, and desserts of all kinds.

The Rescue Mission would like to thank AG Rentals and Management and the many other sponsors and donors for their gifts. The Rescue Mission’s holiday meals are made possible by donations of food items, cash gifts, and the assistance of nearly 100 volunteers.