While students were traveling to celebrate Thanksgiving at home with their families, Muncie Missions Ministries was making plans for their residents as winter and the holidays approached.
Muncie Missions is an emergency shelter for men that has served Delaware County, as well as surrounding counties, since 1930.
The Muncie community supports the shelter by donating needed items such as food and clothing throughout the year, according to Paula Raines. Raines takes part in the shelter with her husband, the Rev. Ray Raines. Ray Raines has been the executive director since 1985.
The Mission held its annual Thanksgiving Banquet last Thursday, feeding nearly 100 people. This group was comprised of both residents and non-residents of the shelter. Residents live and take part in the programs offered at the shelter.
According to Paula Raines, the Mission also delivered about 200 meals to people who are not able to come out of their homes. As many as 75 to 100 volunteers helped to deliver and make the dinners.
The shelter, however, does more than feed and house its visitors. The goal of the mission is to provide a stable living environment, whether it be for a single night or several years.
It encourages discipline and responsibility through various educational and job skill training.
The shelter also provides counseling that responds to emotional and physical needs to create a fulfilling relationship with Jesus Christ through the Christian faith.
According to Paula Raines, the Mission also encourages the community to reach out to the needs that the shelter may have through volunteering or donating.
"Our residents earn their stay here by doing and taking part in jobs around the house," Ray Raines said. "We help them to manage their time and finances. Our whole program is to put these men back on the road to recovery."
Ray said some men are at the shelter because of drug or alcohol abuse, emotional distress or an illness or handicap.
"Many of our residents don't have any support from friends or family," Raines said. "They have burned their bridges."
Counseling is offered in conjunction with mental health agencies to help residents talk about problems in their lives. Ray said many of the people have made poor decisions and need counseling to re-evaluate certain issues.
The number of homeless people seeking refuge this year at places such as Muncie Missions is on the rise. According to Muncie Missions Life Lines, a reader put out by Muncie Missions, more than 65 percent of the homeless population will celebrate their first Thanksgiving on the streets. Two-thirds of these homeless are single-parent families.
"During the 1970s many of the residents were between the ages of 50-55," Ray said. "Now the residents are much younger, mostly around the age of 30."
According to Ray, many of the men have had to turn to the mission for help since they lack in educational and job skills that young men need to succeed.