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Published October 28, 2011, 10:05 PM

GF Mission Providing Hope For Hundreds This Winter

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - With cooler weather fast approaching, more people in the greater Grand Forks area are relying on help from the Northlands Rescue Mission.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - With cooler weather fast approaching, more people in the greater Grand Forks area are relying on help from the Northlands Rescue Mission.

The mission has put a roof over the heads of 100 people each night for 18 months now. It served almost 100,000 meals last year alone. And for many people, relying on the mission has helped them turn their lives around.

"It takes so much stress off you. It's just, you know, you just don't realize how much care you're in because you don't want to sleep out in the cold, I mean, not knowing if you're going to freeze to death by morning," Phillip Gray, who has been staying at the mission for two months, said.

When Phillip Gray came to Grand Forks he had nowhere to stay and no one to turn to.

"I had to go to the hospital and I was crying because I didn't know where I was going to go, what I was going to do. And they just got me in touch with these people and they actually took me in and I was very happy about that," Gray said.

Hundreds of people in the Grand Forks area find themselves in similar situations. Turning to the Northlands Rescue Mission can bring them hope.

"We're open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So if there's people that are in crisis at any time they can always bring them here and we'll get them set up with food and shelter. So there shouldn't be any reason that somebody is out in these cold weather months without any secure safety and shelter," Northlands Rescue Mission Executive Director David Sena said.

With so many people turning to the mission for help, community donations are a necessity appreciated by everyone.

"We tell people to think about it this way, $12 will help to provide three meals and a night of lodging," Sena said.

Besides tangible items like food and shelter, Gray says the mission also provided him with motivation to get a job and turn his life around.

"I probably wouldn't be here. I mean, I would be that... That bad that I just wouldn't be here. I mean, I would feel horrible. Very thankful that they're here. Yes, very thankful," Gray said.

The mission just launched a fall fundraising drive. The goal is to raise $600,000 by the end of the year. There will be a banquet and silent auction at the Alerus Center to help raise money on Thursday, November 3.

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