Christmas is a time that many people enjoy, but for some it's a struggle. The Union Gospel Mission in Sioux Falls is doing their best to give back to those in need.
Guests come to the downtown Sioux Falls shelter by the hundreds for a hot Christmas Day meal. The Union Gospel Mission is able to provide the services for those in need thanks to the numerous donations they receive.
"If it wasn't for this place today, I probably wouldn't have ate nothing today to be honest," Steven Gangy said.
91 volunteers signed up to help the shelter as it gave away hot lunches. Guests also picked out warm clothes to get through the winters and children went through a toy store to pick out some presents for the holiday.
Everything provided today was donated to the shelter. Director Fran Stenberg says that Union Gospel Mission receives around $1 million in donations every year and 90 percent of that is from interested individuals.
"Communities been fantastic. We're so blessed here that we can do this. This is a lot of people here today. We're going to be pushing 500 by the time we get done. The community just steps up to the plate when we let them know what's going on in the community. This is their project," Stenberg said.
The shelter has given the spirit of Christmas to so many people over the years, including its director.
"Years ago I use to hate Christmas with a passion. When I became director here and started seeing the people and how appreciative and how they light up and all that kind of thing. That's changed me," Stenberg said.
For people that need the help, what the Union Gospel Mission did for them gives them hope this holiday season.
"I would like to say thank you very much. I greatly appreciate this. The Gospel Mission has really been a blessing," Gangy said.
The shelter holds similar events at Thanksgiving and Easter and other special days throughout the year.