Volunteers serve Christmas dinner to Utah’s homeless and low income families


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Hundreds of Utah’s homeless and low income families gathered at the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall to receive a warm meal and some special items this Christmas.
For the 14th year Pamela Atkinson and friends have been feeding the homeless and this year wasn’t any different.  Over 900 steaks with just as many sides and pies were on hand, as well as hot chocolate and coffee to feed many of Utah’s less fortunate friends and families.  The steaks and sides were donated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Grand American Hotel.
“It just means the generosity of the local folks that donated their time and money to make this happen, and it’s a steak dinner.  You don’t get steak very often and a hot meal on Christmas,” said Tom Dixon.
The last time he had steak was 2 year ago and he says it was the best meal he’s had in such a long time.  That sentiment was shared by many at the dinner, as many look forward to this meal all year.  But, as much as they appreciate the food, they appreciate the generosity even more of those who came to donate their time and make this a special day for them.
“This really helps, these people realize that sometimes there are bumps in the road and there’s various reasons people are living down in the shelters through no fault of their own and they’re down here.  They really appreciate it,” added Dixon.
This is a dinner Pamela Atkinson and her friends plan all year long.  In fact, Pamela says she’ll begin planning for next year’s dinner as soon as this one is over.  And there isn’t a shortage of volunteers.  Over 80 friends including families came down to the St. Vincent de Paul Dinning Hall to volunteer.  Often times people are on a waiting list hoping to have the chance to give back during the holiday.

“There’s a good phrase, ‘because I have been given much, I too must give,’ and that’s how I feel about it,” said Nancy Allan.

Pamela Atkinson say for the families it means giving back after having the opportunity to spend a wonderful Christmas with their families.
“It’s just one way of giving back,” she says, “and my homeless friends, they think this is terrific because they feel like everybody else when they’re getting treated with dignity and warmth, and friendship, and they’re getting a decent dinner.”
After the dinner they were treated to some special treats and items.  Warm clothes; coats and sweaters were given to all those who needed them.  As well as socks – over 4,000 donated by the Governor’s office – and for the kid’s plenty of toys.  So, that everyone received a warm and fulfilling meal and some joy this Christmas.



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