LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — For the past six years Footprints of Michigan held their annual holiday luncheon outdoors, but for the first time on Friday, they’re staying warm indoors at the Advent house in Lansing.

“It’s always been a blessing to get good food and good friends around you. A lot of people don’t do that, and I really appreciate that,” said Anthony Tidwell, who’s experiencing homelessness.

Dozens of people in need came to the Advent House Ministries for a warm meal and a special gift.

“We give back hope, we give back dignity to those who normally don’t see it throughout the year. So we want to make this day special for them to show there’s people out there that love them,” said Geronimo Lerma III, the founder of Footprints of Michigan.

It’s all a part of Footprints of Michigan’s Chicken Soup for the Sole Holiday Luncheon.

“[It’s for] Those that live on the street, that live in the camps and the shelters because they have no family they have nobody. Especially during this season, we’d like to spend it with them and just cater to them for this day,” said Lerma.

Guests were served chicken soup, ham, mashed potatoes, corn, and more.

Each guest also received a special gift.

“Our presents have a lot of snacks, things to keep warm, some hygiene products, and then we have a lot of footwear and clothing winter coats,” said volunteer Caorrie Groth.
“A lot of us know that people who are alone on holidays get very depressed and it doesn’t matter where you are but opening a present on a holiday just makes you feel like you’re a part of things in a normal situation.”

As for Lerma he wants each guest to leave with more than just a full stomach.

“I want them to feel loved you know, that people care about them. Just make this day special for them, not just a daily going to the soup line routine. They have music here, it’s going to be a festive festive day,” said Lerma.

He says giving back is his favorite gift this holiday.

“This is the best present you can get for Christmas. You don’t need material things this is the best thing you can get. Volunteers and the people here working together. You know that’s Christmas,” said Lerma.