Miami-Dade County

Hundreds of at-risk families celebrate Christmas at Miami Rescue Mission

James Mickle, who dressed as Santa Claus, shares a moment Thursday with Gabriela Jankowicz at the Miami Rescue Mission in Miami.
James Mickle, who dressed as Santa Claus, shares a moment Thursday with Gabriela Jankowicz at the Miami Rescue Mission in Miami. For the Miami Herald

Ewa Jankowicz and her family faced great danger in their native country, Poland. They came to the United States seeking freedom.

The family arrived in New York last December, and moved a month later to Miami, where they found themselves living on the streets.

Jankowicz, a teacher, found refuge at the Miami Rescue Mission in Miami.

“We have a bed and food,” she said. “We were sleeping in the bushes for two weeks. It was terrible. I am happy God helped us to come to the mission. We are excited we are here.”

The Jankowiczes and about 400 other at-risk families on Thursday attended the annual great Christmas Outreach event at Miami Rescue Mission, 2020 NW First Ave. in Wynwood.

“People are very friendly,” she said. “I am very happy.”

On Christmas Eve, two events took place at the mission. Inside, about 1,000 homeless men and women spoke with pastors and heard holiday music. Outside, families gathered watching holiday entertainment and enjoyed a Christmas luncheon served by volunteers. Families also received Christmas gifts and trees.

The nonprofit organization Miami Rescue Mission has been serving the homeless and needy men, women and children of South Florida since 1922, providing them food, shelter, clothing, job training and more.

The organization held the event in all three of its South Florida locations: Hollywood, Pompano Beach and Miami.

Development Director Marilyn Brummitt says the mission’s goal is to assist those in need.

“These are families that are really at-risk and have to make a decision, ‘Do I pay the electrical bill, do I put food on the table, is there money left over for gifts?’” she said. “We want to empower these families to have their own Christmas at home.”

Ashley Galindez celebrated with her four children. She arrived from Maryland, but her family has faced financial setbacks. She is thankful the Miami Rescue Mission opened its doors to her family.

“Prior to this, we have been providers. Whoever needed something we would give. When we came to the mission, it was a hard pill to swallow, to accept this is my situation now,” she said. “The mission is awesome.”

For more information, visit www.miamirescuemission.org

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