CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It's the most wonderful time of year for many, but it can also be an extremely difficult time of year for many families in Charlotte.
That's why the Charlotte Rescue Mission put on a fancy Christmas meal with all the fixings for families who otherwise may not have had a Christmas meal.
The special outreach warmed the hearts of more than 1,000 local individuals and families who needed help the most on Monday.
Hundreds of volunteers in red showed up at the mission in the Third Ward to serve the special guests, who have weathered some very difficult Christmases.
"Once I could get one taste, I'd drink and drink until I blacked out," said Kemmearlin Butler, who is going through rehab.
Butler said those chains have finally been broken, so he came to the rescue mission for Christmas to celebrate his new life with new friends.
"I'm sober today. I got 130 days sober and clean,” Butler said. “That's God being a part of my life. That's my higher power. That's my joy there.”
During the Christmas event, guests also picked up free cellphones to call their loved ones.
In the dining room, volunteers rolled out white tablecloths and hot meals to help their guests feel comfortable.
"To me, Christmas, because of our celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, is a time to reflect and recognize that the reason we are here is to serve others,” volunteer Ed Wadsworth said.
Volunteers said that is why they're giving the guests all they have: their time and love.
Butler said those gifts are the greatest gifts of all on this special day.
"This meal, it's like coming back home to me," Butler said.
Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:
- Drugs, cash, guns seized from Lincoln County home with small children
- Cam Newton invites Levine Children's Hospital patients to luxury at Panthers game
- Two families displaced after mobile homes catch fire in northwest Charlotte
- WATCH: Keith Monday's Christmas Day outlook
- Local husband, wife save lives at separate locations on Christmas Eve
Cox Media Group