GULFPORT - During the holidays, many will enjoy dinner with their loved ones, but for those struggling there was a joyous Christmas Eve feast at Feed My Sheep.
Around 500 people piled into the soup kitchen for food and fellowship. For some, this celebration is the only one they will have this holiday season.
"The Christmas lunch is like being home with mom," Howard Torpy, Jr. said. "They have done a good job."
"It means a lot to me as far as my soul goes, my heart," Keith Martin said. "I really enjoyed it."
Volunteers gave up time with their families to be able to serve up joy to those less fortunate.
"Because we just wanted to help," 9-year-old Allison Tubre said.
"There was one man that came up three times, because he said he was very, very hungry, and he wanted to fill up," Sister Consilio Buckley said. "You know really it's amazing. We forget, especially the people who are homeless and out in the woods, this might be their only meal."
"They are probably not going to have a good Christmas meal if they weren't here today, so it's always our mission to do this really every day of the week," Feed My Sheep Board Member Ted Riemann said.
On this day, the community came together and even donated gifts to make sure everyone who showed up could put their struggles aside for a while and enjoy the true meaning of the holidays.
"I really love serving here. It's a blessing to me," Buckley said. "When they were passing by they were wishing us all a merry Christmas, so it was a wonderful day today."
"The people over here at Feed My Sheep, there's no way you could beat them," Torpy said.