The steady rain that has begun falling in parts of the Bay Area on Christmas Eve is adding urgency to the efforts of dedicated volunteers who are part of an unofficial gathering called “Christmas Eve at Saint James Park.”
The volunteers’ goal is simple: do all they can to help those who have no home for the holiday.
At the annual event, those in need can celebrate with a good meal, a free haircut, clean socks and more.
“Just a pair of warm, clean socks is a godsend right there on its own,” said Charles Nelson of San Jose. “But when you come out here, you get jackets, shirts, t-shirts, food. The necessities.”
Volunteer Elaine Osborne said that the group also gives out blankets. She said that one woman cried when she was given a blanket because “it’s been so cold.”
Hao Thai, the person who first organized the event about nine years ago, is astounded by the growing number of people who are without homes, and gratified by the community response.
“The next thing you know, I’m out there with six trucks, tons of volunteers,” Thai said. “Sometimes I have more volunteers than tasks that people can do.”
For the people experiencing homelessness, that’s what matters most.
“It’s just...knowing there are people out there who care, that in itself is like the sun shining through the clouds,” said Christine Eldridge of San Jose.