December 24, 2010 2:19:32 PM PST
Thousands gathered in downtown Houston on this Christmas Eve day to share in some Christmas cheer. The Christmas Eve Big Feast went on for most of the day at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

The feast started bright and early Friday, but volunteers had been preparing for it all night. And by the end of the event on Friday afternoon, everyone left not only with full bellies but with a sense of fulfillment.

The food was cooked, the clothing sorted and the toys organized, the Big Feast and its thousands of volunteers were ready.

"Just to give back to the community, I've got a couple of girls and they are very fortunate so we wanted to share that with those who are less fortunate," volunteer Bob Musgrove said.

Musgrove brought his entire extended family, about a dozen people to volunteer, but it's his daughters who are learning the most.

"To see that huge line out there and know that all those people hardly have anything," volunteer Lindsay Musgrove said.

The need in the community could be seen just by the size of the lines -- even in a room where services are not even being handed out. Still, the spirit of Christmas was alive and well.

"It's just nice that they're doing something like this for us," Big Feast attendee Harry Arman said.

Every person got a warm meal, and for the kids, something extra special -- a toy, so no child is left present-less on Christmas.

"What do you think them giving away toys?" we asked seven-year-old Angel Zarranza.

"That they're nice and they're good people," he replied.

More than the food, the clothing and the every other material comfort the Big Feast offers, Angel Frederick says what's truly special is that on Christmas, even those with no place to call home get a chance to celebrate the season.

"To me I think it's a blessing and I think it's good that people care about the homeless and not only that they care about us, but that God cares about us," Frederick said. "And it's a blessing that we get food to eat and a place to come, where people can show us love."

Many started preparing for the feast on Thursday. About 20,000 people attended the event; every kid walked away with a toy, and some of the luckier ones got a bike.


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