LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) — Families everywhere gathered around the table today to celebrate Christmas and feast on holiday meals. But what about those who have no family or place to call home?
Several shelters in Little Rock, like the Compassion Center, helped fill that gap. Volunteers are what make large feedings possible during the holidays.
“The Bible talks about giving and sacrificing, we're supposed to sacrifice our lives just like Jesus sacrificed His. This is just a real small way of doing it,” volunteer Paul Dramer said.
It's all fellowship with a purpose.
Every Christmas, the Compassion Center provides holiday meals for people without family or who may be homeless.
“My husband and I, of 45 years, come here every Monday,” Teresa Dramer said.
For the Dramers and others volunteering isn't just a one-time good deed, but a lifestyle.
Cooks at the center started frying and preparing turkeys Wednesday.
“It takes right at a week to prepare just the lunch meal,” Kirk Phillips said. He, at one time, was homeless.
Crowds averaging about 300 or more people eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Compassion Center. All meals are provided for free.
"I know what it's like to not have anything and wonder where your next meal is coming from. It makes me feel thankful to be able to give back to the community,” Phillips said.
Those who benefit from not just holiday meals, but everyday services at the center are thankful volunteers go above and beyond to provide every day of the year.
“It's indescribable because otherwise I would be out in the cold weather. I slept here last night and understand it got down to around 25 degrees. Otherwise, I would've been out on the street,” a homeless man said.
And those who are putting others first, think to live a blessed life selfless acts like these are necessary.
“It's a lot of people. Most of everybody that comes through here is very appreciative and glad to have it,” Mr. Dramer said.
The Compassion Center estimates that they'll serve around 1,100 meals by the end of the day.
People who eat there are also invited to stay the night if they have nowhere else to go.