DALLAS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — Thousands of volunteers got up well before daylight to serve the homeless Saturday.
The Texas Baptist Men got up at 4:30 a.m. to prepare 15,000 hotdogs and 3,500 meals of stew for Operation Care — a non-profit ministry — at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
But they were just a portion of the volunteers… more than 3,500 people got involved with the goal of making sure those struggling with poverty and homelessness aren’t forgotten this holiday season.
“It just make my heart sing my brother, it make my heart sing,” James Maddox said.
More than 10,000 people packed the convention center, receiving new clothing, haircuts and hot meals. All of them sharing a common bond — they’re facing hard times.
Among the volunteers helping with Operation Care was Dr. Audrey Newsome, who brought a group of veterans who wanted to give back to others.
“Even in their time of need they still want to help, and I know I do,” Newsome said. “It means a lot to some of these veterans, getting some of these things that will take them through the year, clothing… whatever they need.”
Susie Jennings founded the ministry after the death of her husband in 1993.
“I think you give up yourself for others, that’s what makes me happy,” Jennings said. “After that, I asked God, ‘What can I do to serve you?’ Because I decided to choose joy, and God led me under a bridge in downtown Dallas to help the poor and the homeless.”
Beyond the basic necessities, Operation Care also provided medical and dental care — flu shots, manicures, makeovers, as well as toys for kids.
Operation Care also helped people reconnect with their families, and paid for their way to get home.