The holidays are often spent with friends or family in the comfort of someone's home, but for some people, that's not always an option. The Rockford Rescue Mission works to make that possible, reuniting their residents and homeless visitors with family members. With food, gifts, and community involvement, they make sure no one is alone during the holidays.
Crystal Daugherty was released from the Winnebago County Jail a week ago. One week from Christmas, she had a choice, change her life, or stay behind bars. With the help of the Rockford Rescue Mission, Crystal and other residents got the Christmas they dreamed of. A banquet, gifts donated from community members, and of course an opportunity to see family.
"It was either go to prison, or change my life," Crystal Daugherty says.
With the help of the Rockford Rescue Mission, Crystal and other residents got the Christmas they dreamed of, a banquet, gifts donated from community members, and of course an opportunity to see family.
"One of our ladies hadn't seen her daughter in seven months," says Renaee Cossey, Women's Program Director at the Rockford Rescue Mission. "Her daughter was able to come and spend two nights with her. Another lady had been with us less than a week. She was able to have dinner with her family at the community meal. Then another women that came into our program less than a week or so was also able to have dinner with her family, so it was just a lot of joy in the house, because when there's children in the house, there's joy in the house."
Without the community, Rescue Mission Director Mick Manne says the holiday festivities wouldn't be possible, including a kind gesture from a Rockford police officer.
"We had a police officer and his wife bring a complete breakfast to our ladies at the Crisis Center," Manne says. "Eggs and bacon, just a wonderful Christmas just like any of us would have on a Christmas morning."
Making the day feel just like Christmas at home.
"It's actually really great," Crystal Daugherty says. "Because if I wasn't here then I would be in jail, and I wouldn't have got to see them at all."
The Rescue Mission says the numbers were about the same over Christmas, compared to past years. About 25 women and 9 children were at the women's centers, very thankful for a safe and happy holiday.
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