A hot meal and the dedication of volunteers bring Christmas cheer to hundreds without homes or presents this Christmas.
Between 450 and 500 homeless men, women and children got homemade Korean food Sunday at the Siena Francis House.
That kind of kindness saved a woman’s life.
Spending the holidays at a homeless shelter, Julie Guy says she got the ultimate gift this year - love.
"The ladies over there tell me every morning 'I love you Julie,' Guy said. “I never had that before. It really just breaks my heart but it makes me feel good.”
After a lifetime of abuse, Guy says she gained the courage to leave her Council Bluffs home in early December.
She was overwhelmed by kindness at the downtown shelter after eating a home cooked meal.
"It broke my heart,” Guy said. “I'm so glad and so happy I found Jesus for the first time."
Guy was among hundreds who got a homemade Korean dinner, paid for by a family who spends their holiday cooking for others.
Volunteer Melissa Baumgart says people like Guy make the hard work worth it.
“People here are just so kind,” Baumgart said. “We see children here. We see people of all ages and it's nothing but kindness, 'thank you for doing this.' We have the ability to do it. We have the time for it, so why not?”
It took days to prepare hundreds of pounds of food for Christmas, part of the warmth and love downtown Sunday.
"So much happiness, so much joy, I've never had so much joy in my whole life until I came here,” Guy said.
"I can feel the love,” said Siena Francis Director Mike Saklar. “The happiness and the smile, a big smile, that kind of giving and sharing is well worth whatever is going on in my home."
The family that bought, prepared and cooked all that Korean food has been doing this for 15 years as their way of celebrating Christmas.