A hot meal on the table and a toy under the tree is something most folks take for granted on Christmas, but all over Chicago Wednesday, churches opened their doors to provide just that to the poor.
At St. Sabina Catholic Church hundreds were bused in from shelters and even from the streets as volunteers served up a home cooked meal, prepared by church members.
"Nobody has to eat alone," said Fr. Michael Pfleger. "No one has to wonder what they're going to eat. We have toys, gifts for the adults for the children. We want them to know on this day, they're not alone. We care about them, we love them and we're here for them."
On the Near West Side, the Salvation Army served its usual Christmas lunch to the homeless, while their mobile unit took the extra step of delivering meals to those who remained outside. In an unusual move, Gold Coast restaurant Chicago Q offered prepared meals to the homeless as well.
Also lending a helping hand this Christmas, is the Apostolic Faith Church, in addition to serving meals to the poor, they are giving out hundreds of coats and toys to children."
"At one point in time I was homeless and had no family to go to and this was my home for the holidays," said Ellen Chiaton. "I come here every year to celebrate Christmas with them, but today I have my own home and I still want to make it a tradition to come here and be a part of this event."
For the children, who got to meet with Santa and get a toy, the church's generosity made all the difference in the world.
"I couldn't give them the best Christmas with the help of the church they had the best Christmas: food, toys," said Moriah Mays. "We loved it. They even gave us a coat."