MILWAUKEE -- Thousands were welcomed at the Wisconsin Center on Christmas Day, Tuesday, Dec. 25 during the Salvation Army's annual "Christmas Family Feast." The 29th annual event was free and open to the public.
"It's sharing the blessings and making the day special," said Major Bob Fay, Salvation Army.
Salvation Army officials hoped to serve 8,000.
"And it's free and open to anyone who wants to come," said Amy Burke, Salvation Army.
More than 1,000 volunteers made it all happen. It takes a year to plan the event.
"We have turkey. We have ham. We have green beans, mashed potatoes -- anything that you would want for a Christmas meal," said Burke.
No one who walked through the doors was turned away.
"The feeling and the spirit is just bubbling over," said Major Fay.
"People who may not have a place to go for Christmas. People who may not have the means to provide a Christmas meal -- or people who just want to come out and do something different," said Burke.
In addition to the warm meal, strangers become friends while breaking bread together.
"And that's the good thing about it and they give us good food -- and you get to see people you haven't seen in years," said Duane Putman.
Volunteers seated and served guests before cleaning up and starting the process over again. For first-time visitors and volunteers, the event quickly becomes a holiday favorite.
"It's surprising how it's flowing so well and it's beautifully decorated and beautiful music," said a volunteer.
"Might be the largest single feeding site in the country, if not around the world on Christmas Day," said Major Fay.
Planning for the 30th annual Christmas Family Feast would begin immediately -- on Dec. 26. Your generous donations make events like this possible. CLICK HERE to make a donation to the Salvation Army, or to learn more about becoming a volunteer.