MERCED -- The Merced County Rescue Mission is once again looking for the community's help to provide a Christmas meal for needy families in the area.
The mission has collected 10 hams, but it needs 190 more to be able to feed about 1,500 people at its annual Christmas Feed on Dec. 24, said Pastor Prapai Wanlarbkam.
The mission hopes to put a smile on the faces of hundreds of children whose parents might not otherwise be able to buy a gift for them. It has collected about 300 toys but hopes to get about 700 to 800 to give away on the day of the Christmas Feed, said Wanlarbkam.
For many people this is a season of joy, but for others it is not, because they don't have the resources they need to provide for their families, Wanlarbkam said.
"I think every kid should have a toy on Christmas," he said.
The Christmas Feed will take place at the American Legion Hall from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Ham donations will be accepted through Dec. 22 and toys will be accepted through the day of the event, Wanlarbkam said. The mission is taking any kind of hams, but precooked are even more welcome because they take less time to prepare, he said.
The mission needs about 75 volunteers to work the event.
"I believe that this week people will get into the spirit of giving, and we should be on a roll like we did on Thanksgiving," he said.
The mission is thankful that the community really stepped up to make the Thanksgiving Feed a success, Wanlarbkam said.
"But we feel even more blessed when the community helps us in putting these events on, it's not just a mission event, but a community event," he said.
Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or email@example.com.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Donations can be dropped off at the Merced County Rescue Mission at 1921 Canal St.
For more information about the annual Christmas Feed, call Phillip Schmauss, the mission's director of marketing, at (209) 658-9558.