Chicago churches help those in need on Christmas Day

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It could be as simple as a hot meal served with a smile or a gift for a child in need. Churches across Chicago stepped up to help those in need this Christmas Day.

Volunteers at Catholic Charities in the city's River North neighborhood served up a free Christmas feast to more than 200 homeless.

"We're able to share the love of God throughout our community, sharing compassion with a meal and gifts with child, with families, with seniors it's a blessing each and every year," said Jonathan Banks, Apostolic Faith Church.

More than 2,500 toys and 700 coats were distributed at Bronzeville's Apostolic Faith Church. No member was too young to volunteer their time in the service of families brought in from shelters across the area.

"It's important to help people on Christmas Day because some people are less fortunate and they need the things we have," said Aaron Richardson, volunteer.

Further south in Gresham, St. Sabina Catholic Church hosted its now-traditional Christmas meal, serving hundreds of people. Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was among those volunteering their time. The effort is appreciated by families who go there seeking companionship and a hot meal.
"We come every year. We show up every year. It's always good," said Freddie Cooks.

To make it even more special, every single one of the meals served was homemade by the members of St. Sabina.

"Nobody on Christmas Day should wonder where you are going to eat, or be alone, or not have a toy for their child. We just want to bless people," said Father Michael Pfleger, St. Sabina Church.

Fr. Pfleger said he was impressed by how many showed up to serve, but said the work done on Christmas should be done every day.

"We have to remember people are in need every day, this should be a year-round thing that we do," he said.

All of the gifts, coats and food at these events were all donated by volunteers or congregation members.
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