Group makes sure homeless have warm meal during holidays - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Central Virginia group makes sure homeless have warm meal during holidays

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

On Christmas Eve, hundreds gathered in downtown Richmond to make sure those who are less fortunate have a happy holiday. Thanks to volunteers and community donations, the annual "Have a Heart for the Homeless" holiday party is bigger than ever!

Many times, there's a gift in putting others before yourself. That's the message from organizers. The long line of folks who waited to get inside tells the story.

"A lot of things should be going on like this more often," said Charles Jackson.

When he learned about the free meals being offered at Paradise Lounge on Christmas Eve, he made sure he had a spot.

Hundreds joined him as volunteers jumped at the opportunity to serve.

Volunteers like six year old A'veri Hornes got right to work.

"My job is to hold the bag and when the people come I can give it to them and say Happy Holidays," he said with excitement.

"It's a sit down dinner so we serve them. We have volunteers bring food to them at the table and then they eat and have a really good meal," said organizer Janasee Estep.

That's only the beginning. Then, attendees can pick out a donated outfit and a pair of shoes and it doesn't end there.

"Then they go upstairs, we dance, we laugh, and when they leave we give them a Christmas gift," Estep added.

Have a Heart for the Homeless has been doing this for 5 years now. It's a festive occasion to show the holidays are for everyone, no matter if you're a little less fortunate.

"God just blessed these people to do this right here for us man," Jackson said.

That's just the idea behind it all.

"It's something I've always wanted to do…I hope it makes their Christmas a little better too," said volunteer Stacy Whitehouse.

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