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East Texas missions expect record numbers for Thanksgiving meal

“This is our busy time of year. We’ll have thanksgiving meals next week, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Both here in Longview and in Tyler. We also have som
Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 3:32 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2021 at 8:40 PM CST
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - As we move closer to Thanksgiving and the traditional start of the holiday season, one East Texas mission is bracing for what could be a record effort for helping the homeless and needy.

Hiway 80 Rescue Mission is gearing up to serve meals and collect donations for gift baskets.

Pantries are stocked full at the Longview mission in anticipation of what they expect with be well over a thousand meals for Thanksgiving.

“This is our busy time of year. We’ll have thanksgiving meals next week, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Both here in Longview and in Tyler. We also have some groups to pick up meals, meals on wheels stuff. 800 to 1000 meals probably for just this week,” says mission director Brian Livingston.

Along with the homeless and needy, the Covid era has contributed to those struggling to overcome lost jobs and wages.

“A lot of those folks will want to come in, because it’s a nice meal, a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. There’s no telling how many people we could end up feeding before it’s all said and done,” Livingston says.

The mission started in Summer collecting food and monetary donations, knowing they’d need more this time around.

“Our shelves look fully stocked right now but within 2 or 3 weeks they’ll be empty again. Thanksgiving and Christmas we feed three different missions,” says mission kitchen manager Dustin Lee.

And it’s not just food. The mission is working on it’s annual Christmas toy drive for children. Over 800 children.

“Trying to give 2 or 3 gifts to every child that’s in need. Covid, because people lost wages lost jobs, there’s no telling how many children are going to need services this year,” Brian says.

And the supply chain could create problems.

“It’s a little scary honestly, since they’re talking about people not able to get gifts for their kids,” says Livingston.

The Hiway 80 Rescue Mission is asking for donations of food and toys at both their Tyler and Longview locations.

The Hiway 80 Rescue Mission will be serving meals in both Tyler and Longview.

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