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Father Joe’s Village serves 2,000 holiday meals to San Diego homeless

Video by Katie Schoolov

Christmas decorations and tablecloths were the extra flourishes at Father Joe’s Villages in Downtown San Diego today. Volunteers served up a hot holiday meal to nearly two thousand homeless people.

Around 2,000 homeless and needy people received holiday meals in two feasts Tuesday at Father Joe's Villages in downtown San Diego.

Around 1,900 homeless veterans, families and children were served at 11 a.m. at the center at 1501 Imperial Ave. Around 75 volunteers helped out. At 5 p.m., the 800 residents of the villages were provided a meal by about 90 volunteers.

Nikki Davis of Temecula volunteered to work the early shift, because she still had some shopping to finish up. And she made sure her two children came along.

“We put a piece of meat, a scoop of mashed potatoes, a scoop of dressing, some gravy on top of that, with a piece of corn,” she said. “I did it so that I can give back to my community and so that I can show my kids what it is to give and not just receive for Christmas.”

Some of the people being served live at the Villages. Some live out on the street. Even the campus’ name-sake, Father Joe Carroll came out to shake hands a spread some cheer. Sister Tricia Cruise runs the facility. She said the holiday is important, but it is not the only day they open their kitchens for the homeless.

“This event in my mind is no different than the food that we serve 365 days a year," Sister Cruise said. "The difference today is that it's Christmas. There’s a little bit more excitement, and we have table cloths on the tables. But besides that, we do this every single day of the year.”

On Christmas Day, the Salvation Army will provide holiday meals to the needy at Golden Hall and its center in Chula Vista, at 648 Third Ave.

Cruise says this has been a good year on Wall Street, but the economy’s economic progress isn’t deep enough to filter down to the street.

“Seldom does it trickle down to the people who don’t have a job and don’t have a place to live," she said. "So whatever we can do through the goodness and donations of the people in San Diego to help us, provides homes and jobs and opportunities for jobs, keeps us going.”

City News Service and KPBS reporter Erik Anderson contributed to this report.

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