Group Brings Christmas Spirit to Those in Need at San Jose Park

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

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.

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