TURLOCK — They serve three meals a day, every day of the year but, today they’re also serving up some Christmas cheer.
An assembly line of helping hands, serving the homeless at Turlock Gospel Mission: roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, all the fixings of a Christmas meal. It’s all part of their annual community Christmas meal and stocking giveaway.
“It’s definitely very special for us. It’s special for the community,” said Jacquelyne Reece. “My favorite part is definitely seeing all the people, seeing all their smiles and seeing how grateful they are.”
Reece, who is the Development Officer of Turlock Gospel Mission, says they expect to serve up to a hundred people Friday.
“It just shows that there’s a great need but there’s also a great generosity in our community of people willing to give back,” Reece said.
Those in need, then collected stockings, filled with hygiene essentials and other bags with different gifts.
“There’s scarves, beanies here and you can get one jacket,” explained volunteer, Martha Gutierrez.
After picking up winter gear, those in need also left with new warm blankets to help them brave the cold nights.
“It’s always good to give in return, you know, just kind of pay it forward,” expressed Gutierrez.
Kojo Bekoe-Sakyi, from Turlock Christian School organized a blanket collection because he wanted to give back.
“There are a lot of people out right now and they don’t have a home to go to and they don’t have anywhere to go to for warmth,” Bekoe-Sakyi stated.
He helped hand out the 60 blankets he and his classmates collected.
“I hope they take away that God sees them, you know. That there are people who notice them and care about them too, because they’re people too,” Bekoe-Sakyi said.
And from now on, when the nights get too cold to bare, Turlock Gospel Mission’s Day Center will now also open at night.
“It’s our heart to show them Christ’s love so were really just hoping they know that someone cares for them and that someone wants to be there for them,” said Reece.
The Mission’s Day Center will act as a warming center at night, giving the homeless some temporary relief from the cold for the rest of winter.