MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee church is checking off items on the wish list for Milwaukee-area families in need this holiday season, and the gifts they're receiving are bringing more than just holiday cheer.
"We are going to love on them," Pastor Robert Pyles said.
"Basically what they have is a housing crisis," Ladeidra Johnson with the Cathedral Center said.
So for the holidays, church officials are helping out -- collecting gifts most of us wouldn't expect underneath the tree.
"We were looking to give toys, but the things they asked for were blankets, sleepwear, sheets and pillows," Pyles said.
"The need is our everyday things we take for granted," Johnson said.
Johnson, who is the director of the "Women's Independence" program with the shelter, said gestures like this can make all the difference.
"This is needed all throughout the year," Johnson said. "It uplifts their spirit."
Sunday was about presents, fellowship and much more.
"It's not just a building with a cross on it. It's people who have access to other tools, access to jobs. We're not only giving them gifts -- we're giving them hope and an opportunity to advance themselves," Pyles said.
It's an effort Helen Barnett believes is vital.
"I'm at peace with myself now. I have hope for myself," Barnett said.
She was once going through tough times, but was able to overcome her hardships with help and opportunities.
"I'm here as encouragement to each and every one, to let them know you can do it if you just believe in yourself." Barnett said.