Friday, the Rescue Mission in Macon plans to hold their annual Christmas lunch.

They're planning for several extra guests this year since the county moved many of the homeless off the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail earlier this week.

Dozens of birds will go to feed upwards of 1,200 people Friday for the annual Christmas luncheon.

Thursday, volunteer elves prepped for the whole affair.

The Rescue Mission houses people in recovery, but they do feed folks every afternoon, and director Pat Chastain says they've seen more people showing up since the city moved the homeless off the Ocmulgee River Monday.

"Days that it's raining, the turnout may not be that good, but yesterday, I noticed it was bigger than normal, so that gives us an indication of how many were affected by the move," Chastain said.

Thomas Gillespie works in receiving.

"It's a lot of the folks on the river, too, it's those folks that don't have nothing right now, and that's what we're trying to help," Gillespie said.

He has seen donations go up this week and knows what a sleeping bag means to a person without an address.

"I lived on the street and these people that come up here, they're like my second family, Gillespie said.

The Rescue Mission program's helping him, so now he will give instead of receive and hand out those warm clothes and hygiene packets.

"And they've got a lot of people who have lost everything, like you said, that when they lost their tent and everything, they couldn't carry everything out of there, so they've lost a lot of stuff," Gillespie said.

"This is what we believe in our hearts, that a meal provides hope, Chastain said. That's one more person in this world that has shown that person, 'I love you and care for you and I'm here for you.'"

Chastain says they're always looking for volunteers, especially folks that can come in and work on a weekly basis.

After delivering meals Friday morning, folks will start serving in the dining room beginning at 11 a.m..

They think they may have 5 or 6 rotations of people coming in.