With a line wrapping around the corner this year, volunteer made sure those in need felt the holiday spirit the second they walked in the door.
Over 100 volunteers came out to the Springs Rescue Mission annual free holiday dinner, hosted at the City Auditorium, in downtown Colorado Springs.
They anticipated over 1,000 people showing up for the event, where they also handed out presents to children, and homemade Christmas cards.
One mother of 5 was even gifted a mini van, by Springs Rescue Mission (thanks to community donations).
“They are our guests. We are serving them. And we want them to feel that,” said volunteer Nancy Veenendaal.
Veenendaal travels to Colorado, from Wisconsin, every holiday season to spend time with her family and help out at this event.
Volunteers not only prepared the Christmas Eve meal, but they also served it to people at the table.
“It does feel like a restaurant, and I haven’t been to a restaurant in four years,” said Samantha Montoya, who was homeless until several months ago. “So it’s really comforting and relaxing,” he added.
“The best part of the meal for me is the dressing and the turkey,” Eric Potts said, after taking a few bites.
Potts says he’s been living on the streets, and tells News5 there would be no Christmas celebration for him without this event.
“Last year, I didn’t have a Christmas meal or anything.”
This year, though, volunteers were able to serve up a little bit of hope, along with his meal.
“I’ve been going through a lot for a long time and I can’t remember the last time I had a good day from the time I woke up, until now,” said Potts, tearing up.
Veenendaal hopes that feeling lasts, even with the dinner now over.
“This is their Christmas of fellowship, being loved on, being fed, being given gifts–this is their Christmas.”
But for Potts–it’s a Christmas he won’t soon forget.
“It’s a good day,” he said smiling. “I feel blessed.”