Feeding a family tradition in East Texas

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - East Texas families put aside their presents on Tuesday to join another kind of East Texas family. The Hiway 80 Rescue Mission, in Longview, held its annual Christmas Eve luncheon and volunteers of all ages showed up to serve the needy.

This is a Christmas tradition for Michael Herrington. Serving food at The Hiway 80 Rescue Mission on Christmas Eve began four years ago.

"It's not something that's sent off and done outside of the country and we don't see results of it; it's something that is a need here in Longview and the need is being met through this organization," he said about why he chose to volunteer here.

He's surrounded by other volunteers and his little helper, Christian, his son. His wife helps cook more than 300 meals; enough for seconds, too.

"Serving people and helping the people that don't have enough money as us," Christian said about working at The Hiway, "they mostly say 'thank you' and I say 'welcome.'"

"For him just to grow up and experience helping out others, you know, he'll be able to offer that when he gets older," his dad said.

It's a family tradition, but not just for the Herrington's. Keith Criplett has lost two wives, but has found family for the holidays, nonetheless.

"Oh, they're like brothers; a lot of us been in the program, we're family, we're brothers," Criplett said.

He's been here for 10 months and hopes someday to give back like the Herringtons have.

"God's kind of led me to stay here at The Mission and help out where I can," Criplett said.

For now, just being part of The Hiway 80 family will do.

"It's a way for us to share Christ and to share our love."

Both a women's and a men's luncheon were held Tuesday and all that food was donated by the community.

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