Neighbors Get a Hot Meal and Some Hope for Christmas

100 volunteers made sure 900 needy neighbors had a hot holiday meal, warm coats and other clothing, and just as important, fellowship and hope.

More than 100 volunteers made the day a little brighter for people who might not have anyone to spend the holidays with. Light of Life Rescue Mission served their annual Christmas Dinner to more than 900 people living in and around their shelter, and residents of 14 senior high rises.

Don Waite of Ross helped prepare the meal of ham, au gratin potatos, vegetables and dessert. He's been volunteering at Light of Life for 22 years and got up at 3am to get there in time. But he doesn't mind. "This doesn't take away from my holidays. It adds to them."

"I have never come away without getting more than I give." Don Waite, volunteer.

A group of employees from Highmark volunteered to prepare and pack dinners that were served off-site. The company gives employees a paid day every year to volunteer, and this group chose the Light of Life holiday meal. Kellyn Wilhide (row 2 above, 2nd from left) has been doing this for several years. "A couple of years ago I served a former neighbor of mine," who was living in a senior high rise Kellyn told us. "I know these people need it. Their family isn't always around."

The shelter also had a tent set up in their side yard where the homeless and neighbors in need could get warm coats, hats, gloves, toiletries and other personal items. Peter Heckroth helped Jennifer Yali and Abdi Masudi (top photo) choose from sweatpants that were donated for the giveaway.

Peter's wife Jessica helped put a smile on James Gist's face as they looked for socks his size. The Heckroths came to deliver cards, board games and 60 dozen cookies decorated by their children and classmates at Our Lady of Grade in Scott Township. They decided to stay and volunteer. "We're blessed and we wanted to share our blessings with others," said Jessica.

Neil Freeze happened to be walking by the mission and saw that they needed extra volunteers. So he pitched in to give out brightly wrapped blankets.

Regina Wheeler and Nicole Law came to volunteer with Legacy International Worship Center. "If we can give back in any way we're going to do it," said Regina.

"You are not forgotten on Christmas." Regina Wheeler, volunteer.

The shelter is still in need of donations of men's heavy-duty winter boots in sizes 10 and up, and hoodies of all sizes. This year's Christmas dinner was sponsored by Hefren-Tillotsen.

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