Christmas Day celebrated differently at The Salvation Army shelter

Christmas Day is just like any other day at The Salvation Army shelter

Many people spend Christmas Day with their family, exchanging gifts and eating a special homemade dinner, but for those without a home and without a family, Christmas Day is a little different.

"Not to be unromantic about it but Christmas is just another night here at the Salvation Army. While there is a holiday spirit here, watching Grinch on the TV, despite a lot of great things that are going on â| we're open," says Capt. Doug McClure with The Salvation Army, who volunteered his Christmas Day night to be at the shelter taking care of residents.

One resident is glad the shelter is open every day of the year. Reginald Cain, temporary resident at The Salvation Army downtown, spent his Christmas at the shelter.

"I just want to say I'm so thankful that institutions like this are here for people who really need them," says Cain. He says The Salvation Army has helped him get a new job as a fork lift operator.

McClure says 22 people stayed overnight at the Salvation Army on Christmas Day. Even more came for meals.

"The truth is some of these folks don't have family, some of these folks don't have friends, some of these folks don't have the basics you and I take for granted. They don't have the opportunity to spend that time with them, that quality time which I think a lot of people have taken for granted," says McClure.

For those without a family this holiday, organizations stopped by Christmas Day to give food and gifts, and spread a little cheer.

"People who didn't think that the Christmas miracle actually existed, I received miracles right before my eyes. I was allowed to see that. So it brightened me up," says Cain.

The day also shined a light for volunteers.

"I opened up the doors this evening and one of the guys came up and said, 'Oh, I was worried.' I said, 'What's going on?' He said, 'I didn't know if you guys would be open because I can't go home,'" says McClure. "I've never had that experience. I've never had the experience of not being able to go home."

Even though he couldn't go home this year, Cain says the Christmas experience was still miraculous.

"I saw today people become believers of the Christmas spirit, and it's alive here at the Salvation Army," says Cain.

The Salvation Army operation costs are 85 percent paid for by community donations. To learn how to donate or volunteer at The Salvation Army downtown, call 229-435-1428.