JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Haven of Mercy hosted about 4,000 people for its annual Christmas meal Sunday.
Pastor Grant Rockley said that this year they are facing several challenges this year including intense cold, broken pipes and heat. Rockley says those challenges, however, will not stop them.
“We have one big mess pipes are frozen heats off and all these people here to eat and we got good food. Santa Claus is coming in a minute. We’ve given out all kinds of gifts and then had a lot of fun and a lot of confusion that’s a good thing,” Rockley said.
Rockley said that the shelter was already overloaded due to the cold weather. “We slept nearly 30 people here in this chapel last night from a cold and we’re not turning anybody away.”
The dinner brought in about 4,000 people, and volunteers also brought food to the Unicoi and Carter County jails and local police departments.
Shelter residents like Wayne Harris pitched in as well, cutting the ham and setting up toys for kids.
“It’s a little chaotic right now, but fun,” said Harris, ” I mean seeing new different faces, you know, from all around.”