By Ana Gomez Salcido
On Christmas Eve, more than 300 people experiencing homelessness received a hot meal plate at Father Joe’s Villages with the help of nearly 40 volunteers.
Each day, Father Joe’s, an organization that serves the homeless population, serves a breakfast, lunch and dinner to this population but on this occasion, a special Christmas dinner was served.
Dinner guests enjoy a plate of ham, vegetables, sweet potatoes, sodas and cookies as dessert as part of the Christmas dinner menu. The guests included people of different ages from children up to seniors.
The tables for the Christmas dinner were distributed throughout two cafeterias at the Father Joe’s Villages facilities located in the East Village area, and they had Christmas decorations all over.
“This is an opportunity to invite people who are homeless to eat with us, they can be with us and receive a meal but the dinner is more than food we served, is about the love we give to them,” said President and CEO deacon Jim Vargas to La Prensa San Diego. “This dinner is for them to feel that they have the support of the community, especially in the holiday season, that is the most important thing.”
The children at the dinner even met Santa Claus, and received gifts. Adults at the event also received Christmas gifts such as clothes and shoes.
“Children can see Santa Claus and they feel good, it’s for them so they don’t feel homeless. They see that they have a home here, where they can feel safe and hopefully with time, they can have their own home as well,” Vargas added.
In addition to the Christmas dinner, Father Joe’s gave temporary shelter for an extra 300 people on their facilities in East Village because of the winter storm of that night.