YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Hundreds of homeless people in the Youngstown-Warren area won’t have much this Christmas. On Sunday, local churches wanted to make sure they at least had a health checkup and holiday meal.
The event, hosted by Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Anthony of Padua Parish, was all about the essentials. Veterans were given free coats and boots, hungry people were given a warm meal. Mercy Health provided free health screenings.
There were more than 250 volunteers and over 300 people who are homeless or living in transitional housing.
“I thought it was really sweet of them to actually do this for the community and give them something to look forward to,” said Jasmine Riley of Warren. “People that don’t have a family, they have a church family that’s willing to make it nice for them.”
Riley and her 2-year-old son, Grayson, got to meet Santa Claus.
“[Santa] got to give him a toy, and I think it’s really nice that they did this for everybody,” she said.
“The most basic thing of life is food and water, and you’d be surprised how many people don’t have that,” said Deacon Tony Falasca.
Falasca helped put together this event, so people could get other essentials, like clothes and shampoo, for free.
“To offer mercy to those who need it most: the hungry, the ones that are addicted, the ones that are without water, the proper essentials of life,” he said.
To feed all of those people, it took 200 pounds of pork, 20 gallons of chili and some cooking help from the Bearded Sinners of Ohio.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” Matthew Beal said. “It’s awesome to see so many different organizations coming together, that you’ve never even met before, but you can come together on short notice and help make such a great event happen.”