BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - No amount of holiday humidity could keep away the nearly 200 volunteers who showed up at St. Vincent de Paul Friday, helping those in need this Christmas.
All in all, the volunteers served more than 900 meals in addition to distributing a variety of blankets, shoes and books to children.
"There are all kinds of people, every race, every religion, working together to help each other. It's a wonderful day," said Linda Posner, who has served on Christmas Day for more than a decade.
As a Jew, Posner does not actually celebrate the holiday.
"We started doing this years ago so that many of the regular volunteers here can spend Christmas Day at home with their families because for us this isn't a particularly meaningful family day, but it's a meaningful day for a lot of folks in our community," she said.
The doors to the dining room were opened around 11:30 a.m., welcoming guests in for a feast of turkey, ham, peas, rice and yams.
A team of volunteers was assigned to each table, delivering drinks and plates of food.
Many of the volunteers were young kids. One of them in particular, 10-year-old Graeme Miracle, knew the plight of the guests all too well. As a young child living in China, he was homeless. After being adopted, he was brought to the United States.
"I just want to share some joy and just want to make people happy," he said with a big, braces-filled grin.
For some parents, Friday was an opportunity to show their kids the true meaning of the holiday.
"I wanted to take this Christmas with my daughter and to share and to give back to someone less fortunate than ourselves," said Evanda Cole Morgan.
Her daughter Emanda Cole, 14, spent her day serving at her mother's side.
"I'm not going to lie to you. At first I was mad because I didn't want to give up Christmas, but then I came down here and I saw all this. I was really astonished because I didn't realize that were that many people out there like that," Cole said. "And I just had a great experience and I wouldn't give it up."
Local leaders, including the mayor of East Baton Rouge, were also on hand to help.
"Sometimes we get caught up in our own world, that we fail to look at those without the food and the wherewithal to make life a lot easier," said Mayor Kip Holden. "I don't care what title you have, how much money you have. Give to those who are less fortunate. You'll get blessings, but they get a blessing as well."
And while of course the goal of the day was to serve up full bellies, the volunteers also arguably spread a little love as well.
"I feel that's really what the essence of Christmas is about what you can give back to anyone, to make anybody day," said Lynley Dornier, who volunteered alongside her son Bailey Luckett.
"It's just a wonderful feeling that you can put smiles on other people's faces and to see that is the true Christmas joy," Luckett said.
St. Vincent de Paul's service is not confined solely to big holidays. They serve meals every day of the year. More information about volunteering can be found on their website.