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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – For those who are less fortunate, the holidays can be a tough time. But thousands of South Floridians, thanks to hundreds of volunteers and the Miami Rescue Mission, were served at a special event held Christmas Eve.

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The giant block party is called the Great Christmas outreach. The Miami Rescue Mission, with the help of 400 volunteers, opens its doors to those who need a little extra help this holiday season—and they end up providing much more than food and toys.

The volunteers prepped donated toys to give to the children who may not otherwise have holiday gifts this year.

Francesca Lozano, 12, is spending Christmas Eve helping.

“I feel good about it because it’s good that people help other people who are in need,” said Lozano.

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Aside from the toy giveaway, the Miami Rescue Mission also served up hot meals which consisted of typical food enjoyed over the holiday.

“There’s an angel here on NW 1st Avenue. Yes, yes. This is my first time ever doing something like this. I’m a new client at the Miami Rescue Mission and this whole experience has been life changing,”

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Marquel Muaiters planned on lending his acting chops to the Christmas play.

“Events like this help me open up because I’m a very sheltered person, I’m not used to talking a lot of people because I was on the streets—I was by myself,” said Muaiters.

Alfanzo Smith is also a resident and helps with maintenance.

“I love it, I’m having fun myself. Every holiday we get up at 4 o clock and put all this together,” said Smith.

He said the event goes beyond providing food, toys and words of faith.

“For those that don’t have a family, this is a place we just all get together and have fun,” said Smith.

The Broward Outreach Center, which is part of the Miami Rescue Mission, is also holding similar events in Hollywood and Pompano Beach Wednesday. It’s a yearly tradition that makes a big impact on those who could use a meal, gifts for their kids, and just the company of others for the holidays.


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