DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN)–Durham Rescue Mission is hosting their annual Back to School Party and Backpack Giveaway.

The residential homeless and addiction facility is known for providing assistance and support to people in the Durham community who may be facing challenges. Whatever the reason, whether it’s losing a job or facing homelessness, members of the mission said their goal is to help.

Durham Rescue Mission Stewardship Officer, David Cash, said around 500 volunteers work together to help hand out a warm meal, groceries, clothes and backpacks filled with school supplies to ensure every student is ready to return to school.

After having the event for more than two decades, Cash said they continue to see a growing need which he said is a concern.

“With inflation and with the economy the way it is, it’s very difficult for families to make ends meet,” Cash said. “There are a lot of families who have made comments to us that if it weren’t for events like this, then their children would be starting school in a deficit. They would not have the tools needed to excel and do well in school.”

Chuck McLean, who has volunteered at the annual event for 22 years, said he showed up with a cooker one morning and has continued to come back year after year to help prepare meals.

McLean spends the entire night before the event to cook and prepare meals. This year, he said they prepared 1,200 pounds of pork and have 6,000 hotdogs.

“When somebody lines up at five a.m. for a bag of food, they need it. They’re not coming here to hang out, they need that,” he said.

McLean said he loves to cook, but the real reason he comes out each year is to help others.

Cash said the event is like a big celebration for families to get some extra support, but also have a good time.

He encouraged all families in the Durham area to attend on Thursday starting at 10 a.m.

Gates open for first service starting at 9 a.m. The event takes place at the Durham Rescue Mission’s Center for Hope at 1201 E. Main Street.