CLEVELAND (WJW) -- Thousands of Northeast Ohioans were able to have a warm meal on Christmas thanks St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church in Tremont.
"We thank you for the grace to be here. That we are alive today and that we can give to each other the gift of peace, love and joy as we share our meal today," said Sister Corita Ambro, who led the prayer at St. Augustine Hunger Center. She started the annual holiday tradition.
"The unconditional love Sister Corita has for everyone is amazing," said Raymond Jackson, a guest at the center. "The food is excellent. Many passes of people come together in one common bond."
All are welcome at the tables.
"I feel so sorry for people who are all alone and so many of the people who are here today are my daily clients. They come and they join with us and are part of our, what I call my family," said Sister Corita.
She said none of this wouldn't be possible without the generous support from donations and volunteers who show up every year.
Volunteers like Anita Rice who said St. Augustine is part of their family tradition.
"We've been doing this for so long that I just can't imagine Christmas without being here," she said.
A new volunteer this year, fifth-grader Mara Cuejdeanu, who decided to make and hand out Christmas cards.
"They were happy and they said Merry Christmas," she said.
Sister Corita said they will serve 17,000 meals at the church, in other centers, and by delivery.
She stresses the collective power of giving.
"That's what I'm hoping that everyone can do is share a blessing with somebody else," she said.
"To give back to people and see that other people care about them as much as others," said Cuejdeanu.
As they all touch so many hearts this holiday.
"Merry Christmas and may you have many many more," said Jackson to his fellow Clevelanders.