Gifts for the homeless

Medford, Ore. — Every Friday, the homeless receive food, clothing and medical care at Set Free Christian Fellowship.

But on the Friday before Christmas, the church offered a little something extra.

“I saw people smile that I’ve never seen smile before,” Set Free Associate Pastor Debi McComas said.

A gift on Christmas shows us somebody cares.

“Kids get all kinds of gifts from agencies and so do senior citizens, but the homeless… they really need to celebrate Christmas. They need to have hope and to have a present,” McComas said.

As a recently engaged couple, Britney and Marco say hope is something they often hold onto.

“We’ve kind of had a hard beginning. When we first got together we were out on the streets,” Britney said.

This year, they have more than just hope. They have Christmas presents.

“I picked one out for him, and he picked one out for me and his grandma,” Britney said.

Each person who showed up Friday had the chance to “shop.”

One gift for themselves, or an important person in their life.

Britney and Marco think the event shows what the holidays are all about.

“Giving to others cause they give to you… Absolutely,” Britney and Marco said.

Some opened their gifts immediately finding items they truly need.

“One lady didn’t have any food and she just came and told me that there was a $50 dollar gift card to Sherm’s Thunderbird in it and she was crying,” McComas said.

Other are waiting until Christmas.

“I heard one man tell me ‘I’m not gonna open this until Christmas morning because I haven’t had a gift on Christmas morning for 15 years,'” McComas said.

In the end, the event is about honoring the homeless and showing them the community cares.

“It gives them hope that someone loves them and it gives them hope that this Christmas will maybe not be so bad because they have a gift to open,” McComas said.

Britney and Marco plan to open their gifts on Christmas day surrounded by their family.

“Ya know, it’s the caring, sharing, loving season!” Britney said.

Debi McComas with Set Free says they were hoping to hand out 100 gifts, but the community doubled that by giving 202 gifts to the homeless on Friday.

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