ROCHESTER, Minn- Christmas is a festive time spent with family. For many, activities revolve around the kitchen table, playing games, eating and being merry. Then there some people who can't be with their families this year or don't have any family to spend it with.
The Rochester Salvation Army hosted its annual Christmas meal. Lisa Mueller with the Salvation Army says about 200 meals were served Wednesday and this year there was a huge change to the menu.
“We served an Italian meal,” Mueller said. “ It’s just something to put a little spin on the Christmas dinner."
The pasta was so good that it left Andrew Paulsen exhausted.
“Come here and eat and go back to sleep," He said.
The Rochester man came to the Salvation Army Wednesday afternoon with his dad Don Paulsen.
Don was in high spirits as he ate the Christmas meal with his son. His only regrets are that his entire family couldn't be together on this joyous day.
"I got a girl in Mason City with her boyfriend and my other son is in Austin,” Don said.
He says the Salvation Army is the next best thing. He says he loves meeting new people but he looks forward to the familiar faces.
"We always keep in mind that holidays can be hard for people,” Mueller said. “Some people are alone and they don't want to be and some people have small families and they just want to be with a large group of people.”
Don says the salvation army is his best Christmas gift. The organization has taken care of him and his family over the years and helped avoid homelessness.
“They mean the world to me it just doesn't get any better,” Don said.