The Mission relies on volunteers to help those in our area who are in need. Volunteers like a group from the First Assembly of God are an important asset around the Topeka Rescue Mission. The group stopped by on Monday to help fill 300 gift bags for the men, women and children who will spend Christmas day at the Mission. Another group came in to fill the first 300, bringing the total number to 600.
First Assembly Youth Pastor, James Haffener, said he hopes the folks who get the bags he helped put together are happy with their gifts. "I wish I could be there when they get 'em," he said. "I want to see their faces light up. I want to see people who otherwise wouldn't have anything just - even if it's only for a few moments - have some warmth in their heart and wear a smile on their face and just know that somebody cares about them."
The holiday season provides a reminder to rekindle the giving spirit, but it's something Haffener reminds should fill us year-round.
"I think that giving has more to do than just being Christmas," Haffener said. "Giving and helping people, just letting people know that they're special and that there's purpose to their life, that's important to us."
Children who are staying at Topeka Rescue Mission will pick out and wrap gifts for their parents on Tuesday.
Santa will stop by the Rescue Mission with his sack of gifts at the annual Christmas Dinner Thursday afternoon. The stockings and gift bags will be handed out at that time. Last year the Mission handed out 350 gift bags, but says this year they're prepared for more people to visit Christmas day. Any unused bags will go back into the Mission's stock of donations.