For Jessica Lopez and her family today was a chance to have a Christmas meal together.
“It brings the family together it’s something that being in the streets I wouldn’t be able to provide,” she says.
Lopez and her four children are homeless. For the holidays she came to spend time with her mom and dad, something she says is priceless.
“I thank the community today for having this meal and being able to sit next to my children,” says Lopez.
The event put on by the Central Coast Rescue Mission in Santa Maria helped feed hundreds of families in the area.
For Lopez, this is the gift she wanted for Christmas, “it’s a blessing this is my Christmas gift today.”
For more than 10 years families have been turning to events like this one. Their kids are able to play together here and families are able to get a much needed jacket or blanket for free.
“We do it for the families and for the kids we want them to know they are loved,” says Genae Sarver, Volunteer Coordinator with the organization.
Dozens of volunteers from different local organizations helped put on the event, for them, it’s all about giving back.
“I think it’s so important to serve this population especially when kids are out of school, we don’t know how many meals they are giving,” says Laurie Graack, a volunteer.
As for Lopez, she wants to make sure her kids remember the true meaning of the holidays, “to have a meal and be next to your family is the most important thing.”