NAPLES, Fla — On Christmas Day, St. Matthew's House in Naples continued its tradition of serving the local community on a busy holiday. Volunteers gathered at the Campbell Lodge Shelter to serve Christmas dinner to hundreds of homeless and needy people.
St. Matthew's House, located on Airport Road, has been holding this event for years as part of its stated effort to address hunger, homelessness, and substance abuse. This year, the organization said it prepared meals for 500 people.
Steve Brooder, the CEO of St. Matthew's House, highlighted the importance of these drives. "We're 24/7 and 365, and Christmas, it's important for us to be here," he told Fox 4.
Brooder pointed out the rising issue of homelessness, particularly during the holiday season.
"Loneliness is one of the top causes of homelessness, so it's important to be in community and talk to one another, have a meal together," Brooder emphasized.
Volunteers, sacrificing time with their own families, dedicated themselves to helping the people here. Amber Crowley, a retired physician providing live music at the event, shared why she showed up to help.
"I think it's very important to have events like this because it shows people that are homeless some dignity. This is a very special dinner in that people are seated and served their meal just like they were in a high-class restaurant, and the food was delicious," Crowley stated.
Other volunteers expressed their inspiration from faith, emphasizing the blessing of serving others.
"Sometimes we forget how fortunate we are to have what we have so it's a blessing to serve," one volunteer told Fox 4.
St. Matthew's House says all leftover food is distributed across its 19 locations and that nothing goes to waste.