Volunteers spread holiday cheer, feed homeless on Christmas

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Scurrying around the Brightridge Club in East Providence, Darlene Anctil is spending her Christmas day volunteering.

Anctil is one of many handing out cake and meals with all the fixings and drink to hundreds of homeless people in Rhode Island.

The Second Annual Christmas Community Dinner organized by Stephen Costa. Statistics from the state’s coalition for the homeless show that as of 2014, there were more than 4,000 homeless people in Rhode Island.

“We have some friends that are out there, so it means a lot for us to do it on our Christmas day,” Costa said.

The cook for the entire room full of people is Luis Melo.

“Making food for people that don’t have it to eat, that’s what it’s all about,” Melo said.

On top of all the food, there was coloring for the kids, coats and winter weather gear, and bags to take with them for the road. This is all part of a tradition Anctil plans to be a part of for years to come.

“The hostess with the mostess,” Anctil exclaimed.

The dinner was donated from local families and businesses. Organizers say they plan on making the dinner bigger and bigger each year.