SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Over 100 volunteers gathered together at the Union Gospel Mission to provide a Christmas celebration. The event began with a church service in the chapel.
“There’s a lot of the community here in Sioux Falls that that is attending today that has had a loss,” says volunteer Elly Heckle.
Elly Heckle provided vocals and piano playing. She hoped the service today would provide hope and comfort to those who don’t get to celebrate as others do.
“We understand that some people will not spend a Christmas with friends or with family or friends and so we just want this to be the best Christmas for them,” Heckle said.
From the chapel everyone moved into a room down the hallway for a holiday meal. Volunteers prepared and served over 1,000 plates of food including turkey, potatoes and dessert for the attendees. Mayor Paul TenHaken volunteered alongside his family.
“When I showed up here and was talking with the volunteer staff, they were overwhelmed and how many volunteers there were here today. And I love that, I love seeing that. It’d be great if we could experience that every day,” TenHaken said.
After eating, people headed across the street to a ‘Santa’s Workshop’ where they had a chance to pick out donated toys and clothes. Eric Weber is the Union Gospel Mission CEO, and he said his main goal with this event is providing a traditional Christmas celebration for everyone.
“What we wanted to accomplish today is bringing hope to people. And so with the service in the meal service and then Christmas presents next door, it’s bringing hope to them, allowing them to have a piece of Christmas that they might not have had before,” Weber said.