Lubbock's Salvation Army served up some holiday spirit Tuesday morning with a hot Christmas meal to anyone in need in the community.
"Lot of folks are here," Major Tim Grider said. "What is especially, pleasantly surprising, are the number of volunteers who showed up."
"That's what Christmas is about, God giving to us, and so, just thought it would be a cool way for our family to serve together, to give back, and to love people who need to be loved," John Bradshaw, one of the many volunteers in attendance, said.
In addition to those who attended the lunch, Tuesday's weather called for a bit more preparation. Tuesday night, and again Wednesday, Salvation Army crews are making the rounds through Lubbock, bringing in those looking for shelter, and handing out supplies to others.
"You're concerned about the roads, and how that affects the homeless, how that affects our shelter, how that affects us here," Major Grider said. "So certainly, yesterday, our DART team, our Disaster, Action, Response team, they're in motion. We have the shifts set up for the shelter here, cots are being laid out, absolutely, amongst our three buildings. We're in response mode already."
"We have socks, we have knit caps, gloves, and then we have blankets that we'll give out to them, and hopefully that will help them survive the night," Dave Frericks with the non-profit said.
He said it's not always an easy task. On a chilly night, the DART team might find anywhere between ten and thirty people.
"It's a chosen lifestyle. Probably 8 out of 10, this is where they want to be," Freriks said. "And regardless of what you try to do, that's where they want to be. A couple of those will get on the canteen and we'll bring them down here. But, the ones that are out there, they know how to live out there. We're just supplementing what they've already got and they'll find warm places, or at least places out of the wind. but, we just want to help."
But Christmas afternoon, it was the lunch capturing everyone's attention. The clients got a good hot meal, and the volunteers got the gratification of knowing they helped to provide for their fellow citizens in need.
"When you get outside yourself, and really give yourself a way, especially at a time like this, when it tends to be so me-centric, and us-centric, it really does open your eyes to the incredible need that's out there all around us, every day," Bradshaw said.
"We tell the community, 'Come, give us one hour, give us one day, and see what goes on", Major Grider said. "And it does nothing but help them, which in turn, helps us. So, it's an education process for sure."
Almost 140 volunteers served meals to almost 350 people, and the day wasn't over. More than 400 beds were set up in preparation for Tuesday evening, for those who wanted a warm bed on Christmas night.