FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Folks at the Rescue Mission are getting ready for their big Easter meal on Sunday. Former marine Matthew Gombos said his first Rescue Mission Easter meal last year did much more than feed him. It also changed his life.
Last March, Gombos was at his wit’s end. He was broke, struggling with alcoholism and living in a Fort Wayne hotel. Then, he found the Rescue Mission. Easter was when he really felt their cause.
“They were the first big family meal I got to partake in that started showing me that there is love out here,” he said.
He was in awe with all the people who donated food and service so selflessly.
“It provides me something where I can put something in my belly because I’m hungry, but it just shows that there are people outside that care,” Gombos said. “They have a kind heart, compassion for even those of us who are down in the dumps.”
Over the last year Gombos’ faith in God has grown, he’s recovered from alcoholism and he’s found a better version of himself.
He’s also built strong friendships. He hopes this Sunday he’ll form new ones.
“I can connect with new people here at the Rescue Mission,” he said. “There’s always people coming in seeking true help, true change and I absolutely love that it gives us that opportunity to meet new people and reconnect with old people that have been here before.”
From his travels around America as a retail vendor to his humanitarian aid in Guatamala with the marines, Gombos said he’s never seen something quite like the Rescue Mission.
“All the travelling I did, yes there’s places here and there like this but there’s no place like this,” he explained. “I would not be here on this planet right now if it wasn’t for the Rescue Mission.”
Rescue Mission staff said all they have left to prepare is desserts. The 1,000 pounds of ham that they will serve is already cut up.
One of the biggest donors of the ham was Brotherhood Mutual Insurance. Their President, Mark Robison, said during Christmas his employees got a gift certificate for a free ham. They also had the option to give up their ham for the Rescue Mission’s Easter meal.
They donated 150 pounds, which will serve 300 people on Sunday.
“We’re really excited to be able to work with the Rescue Mission,” Robison said. “Their slogan is not spare change, but real change and so our employees have really bought into that and really believe in that and so for them it’s an opportunity to make sure that the ham that they give is really going to somewhere that’s really going to benefit someone.”
Easter is the Rescue Mission’s third biggest meal of the year after Thanksgiving and Christmas.
They expect to serve around 2,000 people this Sunday. People can dine in, carry out or have their food delivered.
The Easter meal starts Sunday at noon and runs until 3 p.m., with delivery starting at 2:15 p.m.