Hundreds of homeless men and women joined other families seeking company and a holiday meal this Christmas Day.
For more than 30 years, the Open Pantry Community Services organization has set aside several hours on Christmas Day providing a holiday dinner for the homeless, the hungry and the lonely.
This Christmas Day tradition led to another well-attended event at the High School of Commerce Cafeteria.
Dozens of volunteers including entire families spent part of their Christmas Day preparing the meals with donated food and serving the Christmas meal to the open pantry guests.
“It’s a great appreciation of what they have, so we’re excited that the community comes out, we want to give back, are blessed and provide a good meal and entertainment for the community,” said Terry Maxey, executive director at the community pantry.
Maxey wasn’t the only member of his family volunteering at this Christmas dinner for the homeless.
His daughter Morgan told 22News she’s been volunteering for good causes since she was five years old.
“It means a lot, I love helping people, I love going back to people, it just means a lot,” said Morgan.
Over the years, first at the former Civic Center and now at Commerce High School, the Open Pantry now serves its holiday dinner for the homeless three times each year, on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter Sunday.