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Salt Lake shelters provide holiday meals for Utah’s less fortunate

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - People across Utah were Tuesday busy helping out those less fortunate. Thanks to many charitable people and organizations, hundreds of Salt Lake’s homeless got a warm holiday meal.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - People across Utah were Tuesday busy helping out those less fortunate. Thanks to many charitable people and organizations, hundreds of Salt Lake’s homeless got a warm holiday meal.

If you saw Tuesday’s Christmas meal may not look like much, but for many of Utah's homeless it's truly a blessing.

"It's a good thing they're doing for us homeless people," said Tony Zook, homeless.

"They hook us up really good," said Jerry Sisneros, homeless.

"I had ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, fruit cocktails, you name it," said William Surgi, homeless.

On Tuesday thousands of Salt Lake City's homeless and low income families gathered at the Christian Life Center and St. Vincent de Paul in Salt Lake for a free Christmas dinner and warm clothes for the Christmas season.

"There's about 14,000 people out on the street every night about 12,000 are women with children, school age children," said Brad Jaques, Salt Lake City Mission Public Relations Director.

Between the two kitchens hundreds of volunteers showed up to serve, include former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman.

"Spending Christmas here is good way to reflect upon others and the needs of others which kind of deflects your own sense of self," said Jon Huntsman, volunteer.

"We wanted to teach our kids, they're really blessed and they can give back to the community," said Bob Shawgo, volunteer.

"We've been given so much, we thought it'd be a good opportunity to give back," said Jen Burt, volunteer.

Some organizers said this Christmas there's isn't much difference between some receiving the meal and those handing it out.

"That's because of the recession people thought they were okay, but they lost their jobs, used up their six to nine months savings and ended up in the shelter," said Pamela Atkinson, Community Advocate.

On days like Tuesday, for some, the holiday meal makes them feel closer than ever.

"These guys kind of took me in, they're like my family," said Sisneros.

Even though many needs were met on Tuesday, there’s a lot of work left to be done, Salt Lake area shelters need money, food and clothing donations to continue to provide needs to Utah’s homeless for the rest of the year, so if you'd like to help - contact St. Vincent de Paul or the Salt Lake City Mission.

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Follow Brian Carlson on Twitter: @tv_briancarlson
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