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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – A helping hand goes out to those who are without a home this evening. A local church hosted more than a hundred of Wilmington’s homeless for a holiday dinner.

“I see the smiles on peoples faces that when they do leave here that they know that they’ve been loved,” says Matthew Collins who helps organize the event and has the cub scout troop he leads volunteer.

Smiles like the ones on the face of Randy Tupper. He’s been in a rooming home for the last couple of weeks.

“There’s a lot of people out there that I am sure are very cold and I know a few of them from downtown,” said Tupper. “I hate it for them it’s not a good thing. I am grateful to also have a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in and I am grateful to be here right now.”

He like the more than one hundred people in this room have been or are currently homeless. For four years now first fruit ministries has hit the streets and gone into homeless communities to bring them to the table for a three course meal.

“It’s nice that somebody is thinking about them,” said Terry Perry who has been on and off the streets in the past, but now volunteers at the church and Good Shepherd. “Somebody is giving them a chance to get out of that cold weather for a little bit. Congregate and let them know that somebody cares about them.”

For Perry that caring is just as important if not more important than that free coffee.

“It’s spectacular I enjoy it,” he said.

Even though these men and women will either head back to the streets or somewhere else, Matthew Collins wants them to leave with knowing someone cares.

“We’re really hoping that they’ll be able to come here, get themselves back on their feet and just ask and pray for hope,” said Collins.

The event was made possible with the help of over ten sponsors like Alan Perry of Perry’s Emporium, MOI catering, and Heironymous Seafood to name a few. After the dinner is done, the men and women are taken back to wherever they plan to spend the night with a bag of donated toiletries as well as a blanket.

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