Updated 04/27/2012 03:59 PM
Rescue Mission says goodbye to old friend
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UTICA, N.Y. -- From hot food to a warm bed, the Utica Rescue Mission provides thousands with basic life needs every year. But even in death, one longtime mission client was remembered by the shelter Friday.
The organization held a memorial service for 71-year-old Vincent Hope, a man who'd eaten meals at the Rutger Street facility for 18 years. He died on April 17.
Officials say the mission played a big part in Hope's life. He had no relatives, so they arranged for a local funeral director to provide calling hours for him so they could say goodbye to a man who became part of their extended family.
"This is really what the Rescue Mission is here for. For those people who don't have anywhere else to turn, who don't have anyone else to take care of them. Even right through to the end of life, we are here to help them," said Rev. Bill Dodge, the mission's executive director.
Officials say they continue to see a great demand for their services in the community. Last month, the mission gave out a record number of food boxes to families in need.