Volunteers serve Christmas meal at RIFA soup kitchen
WEST JACKSON — While many families spent their Christmas at home with family, others devoted their time to helping others. RIFA’s soup kitchen in Jackson served more than 200 people Christmas Day with the help of volunteers. “It wouldn’t be Christmas if I wasn’t here,” volunteer Joy Rogers said. Dozens of volunteers donated their time to help feed those less fortunate. “It’s Jesus’ birthday. Jesus came as a servant, and people want to serve,” soup kitchen manager Harold Coleman Jr. said. Coleman said Christmas is the second busiest day for volunteers behind Thanksgiving. “That means as much as the food ever does because it’s somebody that can come here and the people will talk to them,” Coleman told WBBJ Thursday. “Somebody that will serve them. Somebody that will care for them.” Coleman said Christmas Day is special because lots of kids come in to help. “A lot of times, we have one or two people out of a family,” he said. “This is one of those days where the whole family comes and serves together.” Dennis Phillips said the people who volunteer their time to help him bring a tear to his eye. “Because if it wasn’t for them, I’d probably be going hungry today myself,” Phillips said. The kids devoting their Christmas Day to help others said it is an extra gift. “Other people are so happy to see little kids helping, and they’re like ‘oh, thank you,’ and I say ‘thank you,'” 11-year-old Alli Reeves said. “I’ve been doing this for a while, serving the homeless people, and I really like it,” 8-year-old Ahmari Taylor said. Coleman said about 70 volunteers came out on Christmas Day, and the guests appreciate that. “It’s a way we can show them the community does care that people do love them no matter what’s going on in their lives,” Coleman said. Phillips said he misses family on this holiday but is fortunate he has company to spend the day with. “You know they can be home with their families, but no — by the grace of God, they come down here,” Phillips said. RIFA’s soup kitchen is run by volunteers and serves meals free of charge 365 days a year.