TYLER, TX (KLTV) - With violins and even Elvis singing carols, a large crowd turned out for the annual Salvation Army Christmas dinner, which has become a tradition of sorts for some families.
"We come here every year, a lot of times me and my mom we just like to see the different people and just to be around others," says visitor Satoya Smith.
"Christmas is all about family, it's all about friends, it's all about sharing and these individuals have come not only for a meal but to share their love, their attention their care with people who need it so so much," says Salvation army captain Zach Bell.
It's not really about food anymore, but something that only people can give to one another.
"I think this whole atmosphere is one of giving and of the blessings of the season. It's about family," says event volunteer and Tyler mayor Barbara Bass.
Twelve-year-old Dakota Batchelor of Frankston has been volunteering at this event since he was seven years old.
"I get a good feeling about doing it," Bachelor says. "We get to just come and help and hopefully they'll be appreciative and have a good Christmas.
Everyone involved, visitor or volunteer, seems to take something extra with them.
"And I think it's contagious when you have a giving spirit a giving heart and you're involved in something like this you can't help but be happy," Bass says.
And organizers hope, those who attended went away full in body, and spirit.
"They leave yes with bellies that are full, but I believe they leave with hearts that are full as well," Bell says.
Three hundred volunteers helped serve nearly a thousand meals today, using over 250 pounds of ham and 260 pounds of sweet potatoes, and hundreds of pounds of side dishes.