By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles Mission hosted its annual Easter celebration Friday offering over 1,000 meals, saying the pandemic has made the need for it even greater.

Folks lined up early to receive a free Easter meal, blanket and basket.

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The L.A. Mission prepared over 1,000 meals to hand out at its Easter celebration event.

“I’m dying for the Easter event,” said Birnstine Hines.

Hines was first in line at the L.A. Mission Friday morning. She started coming to the annual event back in 1992 when her life took some hard turns. She lost her apartment and had nowhere to go

“I was homeless for five years and I’m not homeless anymore. I thank God I’m not homeless anymore,” she said. “They gave me all kind of support. My housing, my hygiene at the women’s center”

During it all, the meals and baskets that are given out each Easter were reminders of what this season celebrates – new life and new beginnings.

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“Our mission is to give hope, help and opportunity to men women and children around skid row, said L.A. Mission operations manager Jessica Mason. “We are a mission without walls so we are branching out to other cities as well.”

Mason said during the pandemic, they’ve witnessed greater need and faced new challenges in responding to it.

The food being cooked up wasn’t served at tables like in years past. Instead, COVID-screened volunteers will hand out boxed meals along with blankets and Easter baskets.

“We are here for these kinds of times, for the rough times, to provide some hope and joy during this holiday season,” Mason said.

Joy is exactly what Hines is feeling as Easter approaches.

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“I’m ready for Easter week. I want to see my grandkids. I have a nice weekend with my grandkids,” she said.

The L.A. Mission expects to distribute meals to up to 1,300 people.