Members of Hines Memorial CME Church assist women and children through the lunch line Monday at the church’s family life center at the corner of Madison and Roosevelt avenues. Church members gave food and clothing to hundreds of those in need ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Members of Hines Memorial CME Church assist women and children through the lunch line Monday at the church’s family life center at the corner of Madison and Roosevelt avenues. Church members gave food and clothing to hundreds of those in need ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

ALBANY -- Marye Jones Wright has been around Hines Memorial CME church for a spell and, for as long as she can remember, church members haven't been shy about giving to those in need.

Now the president of the church's missionary arm, Wright was one of dozens of church members Monday dolling out food and clothing to hundreds of people in need at the church's family life center, located on the corner of Madison and Roosevelt avenues.

"If you look out there, you'll see that we're needed here," Wright said. "So we give what we can and, in the process, work to lead people to Christ."

Just before noon Monday, more than 100 people stood in a line that snaked its way around the building, waiting for the doors to open and lunch to be served.

At a time when more people than ever are being brought to their knees by a stagnant economy and record joblessness, church officials are urging people while they're down there, to turn their head and hearts to God and renew a faith that, for many, has been nearly wiped away.

"It's tough out here," the Rev. Travis Morris, the pastor at Cray Chapel CME, told those standing in line Monday. "I know you're weary and tired and things may not be going your way. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and there is hope for a brighter day."

While Monday's event comes just days before the Thanksgiving holiday, Wright said that the church has served meals -- especially breakfasts -- for the hungry for decades. Even before there was a family life center.

"You know, before we had this place to serve everyone, we'd do the same thing out of the basement of the church," Wright said.

And Wright said that as long as there is a need, church members will continue doing the missionary work they have been compelled to do so that the bodies and souls of those in need find the nourishment they seek.

"That's why we stay here. That's why we do this," Wright said. "The community has a need, and we can help fill that need. That's why this community needs us."