BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A special Christmas meal was given to the homeless in the Capital City at the St. Vincent de Paul Society on Christmas Day.
Lines stretched down the street outside the center, with people looking to get a fresh meal this Christmas. However, food wasn't the only thing given out to the less fortunate this holiday season.
“It’s the Christmas gift of happiness today, it’s the gift of caring and sharing, and at St. Vincent de Paul, that’s alive not only today, but all year long,” said Michael Acaldo, director of St. Vincent de Paul in Baton Rouge.
Inside the dining room, many hungry and homeless guests came in to search for nourishment, compassion, and hope. Acaldo estimates they served food to between 600 and 800 people.
"The environment, the friendliness, everybody gets along," said Ricky Cook.
"A great day to be here for Christmas with the kids and stuff, the people," said Takeesha Nixon.
"Giving, love, happiness," said Edward Polk.
More than 150 volunteers gave up their time normally spent with family on Christmas Day to give back.
“We’re here because we can, because we can do it, and we have the time to do it, and it’s something we wanted to do, to give back to the community,” said Larry and Cynthia Harris, volunteers.
“To see everybody with joy and know that their hearts are filled and they can be fed, and you know, have family around them, it feels welcome,” said Faith Williams, another volunteer.
"This is all about the work of the Lord, that's the only thing that's going on today, is the work of the Lord. Nobody gets glory but God in here today," said Mike Nunnery, a volunteer.
Just at the facility, they were also giving out clothes, shoes, socks, nonperishable food items, presents for the children, and more.
“I just thought that for Christmas I’d see that we would come out and help serve instead of be home opening gifts. It’s been amazing for us, right Angel? A great feeling, a great feeling, to see these smiles on these kids,” said Keisha Daisy, a volunteer.
"Whether it's providing a shelter to a single person or a family or serving a hot meal, or helping someone find a job, St. Vincent de Paul is making a difference," said Acaldo.
Just being in the room gave people the feeling of what the Christmas season is all about.
Officials with the St. Vincent de Paul Society are just hopeful these volunteers come back and lend their time another day in 2020.