15,000 homeless & low income families treated in Dallas

One of the largest Christmas events for the homeless happened in Dallas, Saturday morning.

The 15th annual Christmas Gift celebration by Operation Care served nearly 15,000 homeless and low income families in the DFW area.

"They make you feel like Santa Claus just came to town,” said recipient Thelma Washington.

Many were bussed in from shelters over to the Kay Bailey Hutchison convention center, where they were provided a hot meal, and gifts galore.

Services including health screenings and hair cuts were also being offered.

"The reason that I’m out here today is because I didn't really have much to give to my kids this year and I needed a little bit of help," said Stephany Palmer.

And Palmer got what she wanted. Her kids were grateful for their brand new shoes.

“It means really much to me, because at the end of the day, they didn’t have to do this for us but they did," said Palmer.

Four years ago, Connie Brown walked into the event as a homeless person. Now she’s a volunteer.

"I found myself in a situation that I never thought I would be in," she said.

Brown says she owes that to Operation Care. She’s since opened up her own business as a baker and is trying to inspire others with her treats and her story.

"A lot of people think about homeless living under a bridge or on the streets, but homeless can be somebody at work and you never know that they're homeless. so when they leave their 9-5 you don’t know where they go. That's what happened to me. so when I talk to the people here at this event, I have a chance to have a face, I have a chance to talk to them as a human being."

Veterans who need a hand getting back on their feet are a big part of the homeless population.

"I thought we made a hell of a sacrifice for the safety of this country and to see that all our work is not in vain, is such a real privilege thing that y’all are doing," said formerly homeless veteran Jerome Bell.

Army Air Corps Veteran Orville Rogers is 101-years-old and has been helping his fellow veterans at this event for the past dozen years.

“People need to know that we have homeless people in our midst and they need help," he said.

Susie Jennings founded Operation Care after her husband committed suicide and she wanted to serve The Lord.

"We are 15 years and we have served 189,000 people and it changed my heart. so if god could change me, he could change anybody else,” she said.

Jennings says she hopes to inspire others to open their hearts as well.