A Day Of Gifts And Giving Back In Central Ohio

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A day of gifts and giving back. 

Central Ohio came together to make sure no one went without gifts this holiday.

Like Santa loading his sleigh, Mike and Sherry Jones pack their car with gifts, delivering holiday cheer to those who need it most. 

"Some of them are lonely, some of them are by themselves, some of them are handicapped," said Sherry. "Trying to bring a little joy to their lives today with a smile and some gifts." 

Volunteering with Meals on Wheels has been their holiday tradition for ten years now. 

"When we woke up this morning, we woke up knowing we were going to come and do this," said Mike "This is a part of Christmas day for us."

The gifts they bring are nourishment.

"Today the hot meal is a ham dinner with green bean casserole and chocolate mousse," said Sherry.

And the knowledge that those receiving these meals are not alone. 

"They seem to be so happy," said Mike. "A lot of them say if we didn't have Meals on Wheels, they wouldn't get no meal today."

"Just like god gave us, we're giving back," said Sherry.

At the Faith Mission Downtown, there were meals and smiles aplenty.

And long lines of people in need of both. 

"We try not to just offer food," said Volunteer Coordinator Mercy Ovuworie. "We try to offer hope."

The tradition of donating and serving a holiday meal to the homeless at Faith Mission started twenty years ago with a man named Vince Davis.  

Ten years after his death, volunteers led by Ovuworie continue to serve in his name.

"The meaning of Christmas," she said. "The gift. Giving back. Christ gave us his life. God gave us Christ. And we want to give back."

For some, like Linda Claffey, this gift is simple survival.

"A full stomach, yeah. A full stomach. We just thank God. We weren't expecting that."

Asked how many days she has a full stomach, she answered, "Not very many."

On this Christmas day, she found not only food, but family.

"A lot of us can't get ahold of our families. A lot of us are either abandoned by our families or they don't accept us. So we just grab onto each other and say 'Hey- we're here for each other. We're family.'"

"The message is they are loved, they are special, and our community cares for them," said Ovuworie. "It's a message of love, a message of peace, a message of giving." 

Some two hundred volunteers spent part of their Christmas delivering Meals on Wheels.

The program provides meals to some 5000 people, 365 days a year.

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