SPRINGFIELD, Mo - Every day the Salvation Army serves lunch at the Harbor House, and that meal always seems to be a little more special on Christmas. For all of them it means a hot meal and a toy for the kids, but for many of them it's a chance to be with their family at Christmas, even if the members of this family aren't really related.
"Christmas Day you want to be around family and many of these individuals who gather here all year around; this is their family," says Major Norman Granger with the Salvation Army.
And the family that the Salvation Army feeds on Christmas day seems to get bigger every year. "We're expecting about 200 people to come to the Christmas meal today," says Granger.
"People live alone, they don't have anybody," says volunteer Beverly Burchett.
"A lot of people come here just for the fellowship; it's not just for the food, they come for the fellowship, just to be around people," says Granger.
And some of the people, like Taylor Mishoe, come just to help, "I really like helping people so this is a good chance for me to help a lot of people," says Mishoe.
"I like to make other people feel special because they really are, and for somebody to acknowledge that; even if it is just once a year to understand that not everyone's been blessed."
And even though a hot meal and a toy is enough for these folks, "It's one of the happiest days I've had in a long time," says Heather Mercer. Some of the volunteers make sure they get a little something extra. "I hug the people when they come," says Burchett.