BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- Jolly Saint Nick had one last stop to make Christmas morning at the 18th annual Manna Christmas Dinner. The feast, put on by Manna ministries, gives families not only a hot meal, but also a chance to pick up toys and clothing they otherwise wouldn't be able to afford.
Executive Director Bill Rae with Manna ministries said, "To have the moms and dads come up and say we can't buy gifts for our kids. We need a coat. We need a blanket. We need something for ourselves and to be able to give them to them new; it's incredible."
Third time volunteer Angela Bowen brought her family along and said, "It's really important, especially on Christmas day, to know it's not really about what you're getting for Christmas, but what you're giving back to the community."
The Bowen family made it their tradition to volunteer at the Manna Christmas dinner every year to give back to the community.
Bowen said, "It's very humbling and it's very heart warming, as well. I think it's a good message to give to the kids especially on Christmas day."
Kaleigh Bowen, Angela Bowen's youngest daughter said, "I think it's really cool because I've never done it before and I didn't know what to expect, but it's really cool. You get to help other people. It's not about getting a bunch of presents and stuff. It's about helping other people and being with your family."
Volunteers shoveled out plates of food, new mittens and hats, and a stuffed animal for everyone.
"Nobody is going to walk away without something," said Rae.
Families could request gifts for their children and carry them out once the meal is finished. Many parents brought home large bags of toys to be brought home.
"As a Dad, to be able to see a parent provide for their kid...that's what Christmas is all about," said Rae.