Southside Baptist Church welcomes the homeless, the lonely, and anyone who wanted to join to celebrate Christmas lunch with them.
WJTV’s Lucy Dieckhaus shows us some of the people they shared their table with and how the church spreads the spirit of Christmas throughout the year.
Jessica Whittington has four children but she didn’t spend Christmas morning with them.
“I’m a little down because i want to be around my kids and my family but this church they’ve been my family,” said Whittington.
She’s one of the many people in need who poured into Southside Baptist Church on Raymond Road for a holiday lunch.
“I’ve been on the streets for a while now and Southside has really helped me when i needed it,” said Whittington.
“I’m all alone. It’s just very comforting to be around people who care about you. It makes a real difference in your life. It determines where you’re going and what you’re going to do,” said Tony Clayton.
Pastor Jeff Parker along with volunteers opened the church doors to anyone this afternoon and says Christmas should be about putting others first.
“When people come today they basically say it’s not about me. It’s not about presents. It’s not about gathering with my family. It’s about me serving and investing my life in the life of other people,” said Parker.
Leeroy Estes is one of those men pastor parker has put first. Church leaders found him sleeping under the building just one year ago and now he’s working for Southside. His message to anyone struggling is never give up.
“I’ve been homeless four different times in my life due to depression drugs and alcohol I’ve lost everything I had,” said Estes.
Volunteers gave out clothes, shoes, and other items to those in need. Whittington and many say this church has become just like family.
“You won’t find people like here at Southside,” said Whittington.
“Spending time with my family. This is my family since my mother and father died. I have no family. This is my family,” said Clayton.
Click here to find out more information and how to donate to Southside Baptist Church.