TYLER, TX (KLTV) - It's a place that reaches out to the homeless and needy, lending a helping hand when no one else will. The East Texas Rescue Mission hosts close to 60 guests a night, but a recent influx has them looking at how to handle the new visitors.
As lunch is served at the East Texas Rescue Mission of Tyler guests fill up on the second of three free meals a day.
"We usually average around 280 meals a day," said East Texas Rescue director Tony Chung. On a normal day his outreach houses 60 guests. In two weeks he says that number has spiked 25 percent.
"With the increase, I'm thinkin we're gonna be servin around 350 meals a day, and that's an awful lot, and we can not carry the burden." A burden, that despite the mission's best efforts, is starting to show.
"We have food today, you took a look at our pantry, and it's getting kind of bare there," said Chung. Empty shelves and full bunkrooms mean mission guests like James Goodson may have to go somewhere else if no help arrives.
"Being over here I found a bunch of great people that have a heart and have an understanding of where I'm coming from," said Goodson. When they run out of beds the mission accomodates newcomers with pallets, a little offering that goes a long way.
"If not for places like this putting a roof over my head, getting a shower every day, three meals a day there's a lot of people who need help out there." The mission has proven successful since opening eight months ago and despite tough times Chung rests on the mission's Christian foundation.
"I just believe it's going to all work out, so we just take it one day at a time," said Chung. East Texas Rescue Mission has not reached its boiling point yet, but the mission says it can use all the help they can get. Food, clothing, and money donations are being accepted at the mission's north Tyler location.