As we make the final preparations for Christmas dinner, some around Bay County aren't as lucky. That's why the Panama City Rescue Mission is stepping in to provide a Merry Christmas to those who need it the most.
Often lost during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season - the joy of giving back, and the importance of family. Monday, both were on display at the rescue mission.
Perhaps no trio does a better job of bringing the elements of service and family together than Jason Allen, James Sansom, and Bruce Allen. They're all volunteers here at the Mission.
For Jason, there's no place like home for the holidays.
"My father and mother live here in Port St. Joe, and that's where we've come for the next week," Jason said.
During that week, he'll join with 60 volunteers of all ages to provide food to those who are struggling.
For David Kukla, it's a meal he can enjoy with his extended military family.
"I'm also a veteran too, and a lot of the fellas here are veterans and homeless," Kukla said.
Which brings us back to the trio of Jason, Bruce and James. Not only are they all volunteers at the mission this week, they also represent 3 generations of military service.
"My grandfather [Bruce Allen] is also a World War 2 veteran, and my father [James Sansom] is a Vietnam Veteran," Jason said. "I've been active duty for 12 years, I'm a major in the United States Army."
With each plate served, the importance of family - whether it's by blood or by military branch - is realized.
"We try to do as much as we can, especially during this time of year when family is so important," Jason said.
And their service to others, including the ones who have also put their lives on the line for freedom, is much appreciated.
"It's a blessing for them to take time out to honor the people who done that before them," Kukla said.
The mission estimates that during the Christmas week they will give out more than 5,000 meals.