MEMPHIS, Tenn. — While many of us get to spend the holiday with friends and family, nearly 2,000 Memphians have no home and no one to celebrate Christmas with.
But Sunday, some of the city’s homeless got to eat a hot meal, enjoy some company and even dance.
It's all part of a special festival that’s about much more than just feeding the hungry.
When you see how much fun people are having on this Christmas morning, it’s easy to forget – if only for a moment – that their lives are anything but easy.
"Christmas is one of the happiest times, but for some people, it’s one of the loneliest times of the year," said volunteer Michelle Moore.
Hundreds of the city’s homeless show up at the House of Mtenzi Museum every year for its Forgotten Souls Christmas Block Party.
"This is a party for them, this is actually a festival," Moore said.
People like Fred James, with nowhere else to go and no one to spend the holiday with.
"It’s a good experience and everything," he said. "I enjoy meeting people and mingling and having fun."
It started two decades ago with just a meal.
But for the last 14 years, it’s been about much more than that.
It’s been a place where the city’s less fortunate can get warm clothes and toiletries and feel like they have a family on Christmas.
"If you want to see the joy in someone’s face, if you want to see them get a hot meal, if you want to see them enjoy Christmas instead of being lonely and by themselves, then that’s the way for you to come out too, because it does something for your soul as well as theirs," Moore said.
Several organizations and churches make donations and volunteer their time to make it possible.
And for anyone who finds themselves in James’ shoes, his message is one you may just need to hear this Christmas day.
"Stay strong, keep your faith, and everything’s going to work out for the best," he said.
The museum still needs cold weather accessories, like scarves, hats and gloves for the homeless.
You can drop donations off at 1289 Madison Ave. from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the week.