Christmas dinner at Montana Rescue Mission has become a Billings tradition for both its guests and the volunteers who serve them.
"It's a family tradition I grew up with when I was growing up. When I got married my husband started and then my daughter started. This is my husband's nineteenth year and my daughter's 22nd year coming down to serve for Christmas," said volunteer Jerri Fonner.
Since 1949; Montana Rescue Mission has been providing holiday meals to those who need it this time of year. On Tuesday over 150 guests came to MRM for Christmas dinner.
Christmas Day dinner at Montana Rescue Mission is now in its 69th year. Denise Smith with MRM says the first holiday meals were provided for veterans returning from the war.
Jerri Fonner has been serving at Montana Rescue Mission every Christmas since 1982. She is one of forty volunteers who helped serve guests Tuesday afternoon.
"We've gotten to know some of these people they're like family and so for us it's a family tradition that we get to spend with extended family. It's a great time," said Fonner.
David South directed the Christmas dinner for MRM. He is a resident at the shelter and a recovering alcoholic. He said he and his crew worked for about 40 hours to prepare for Christmas.
South added, days like this are about much more than food. It's about the human interactions that help elevate the mood of the guests.
Volunteer Milt Strong said,"I love to interact with people, it's a great thing to be able to do. It's fun to be able to help people that can't have the things that we have, so it's just a pleasure to be able to do it."
Montana Rescue Mission is always looking for volunteers. If you would like to help prepare or serve a meal, or just spend time with some of the guests, check out their website and Facebook page.