DALLAS - The holidays can be a hard time of year for the less fortunate. But this year, a non-profit organization and a couple thousand volunteers worked to change that.
A high school band and red carpet greeted the special guests who arrived at the Downtown Dallas Omni hotel in coach buses Sunday morning.
“We’re giving these homeless people a magical Christmas,” said David Timothy, who is also known as the SoupMan.
For more than a decade, Timothy’s charity, the SoupMobile, has hosted an event to give 500 homeless men, women and children food, gifts and a warm place to stay.
This year the event was slightly different. Instead of an overnight stay, the charity threw a job fair.
“With jobs they can get out of homelessness. So it’s going to be a special day with Christmas gifts and all kinds of stuff but it’s all about the jobs,” Timothy said.
For people like Darrell Payne, the job fair is the perfect gift.
“I’ve been homeless for quite some time,” he said. “My goal is to get out of the situation that I'm in.”
While the event hopefully brings about a brighter future for hundreds, many of the guests were emotional about the special treatment after just getting off the buses.
“Honestly, I cried. Nobody’s ever done that for me and it felt really good. It felt really nice. It felt really special,” one woman said. “You can’t really be happy in a homeless shelter on Christmas. But this is really, really our Christmas day today.”
“It was great. There was I don’t know at least 200 people welcoming me, clapping for me and saying, ‘Merry Christmas! I’m glad you’re here,’” Martin Parker said.
It’s proof that simply showing you care is sometimes better than a material gift.
“I’m just overwhelmed right now and I want to cry but they’re good tears... tears of joy and happiness,” Luranda Morris said.
Aside from the Christmas event, the SoupMobile provides more than 250,000 meals a year to the homeless in the Dallas area and helps to house the homeless in its shelter program.