Spirit of giving evident in Downtown Fresno

December 25, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The Christmas spirit is alive and well in Downtown Fresno. While hundreds came to receive free Christmas food and gifts, some came to give.

On Christmas morning Jose Bautista drew a crowd. Once he opened the trunk of his car and he and his daughter started serving up the beans and eggs and tortillas they prepared at home, dozens of homeless men and women lined up for the free Christmas breakfast.

"People are in need. I was in need at one time. You know I was out here and I was hungry," Bautista said.

Just a year and a half ago, Jose says he would have been here, waiting for a handout. He was homeless and on the street. But, he got help, found God, he says, found a job and was able reunite with his daughters - and now help others.

"We gotta give, we have to give, you know. It's gratitude is what it is," Bautista said.

His daughter Carrie shared the spirit of giving with him.

"It felt good, to see them, to get food and be fed, it's sentimental for me," Bautista said.

And those who received were grateful for the food.

"It's good, real good, it's healthy, beans and rice, beans and eggs, it's good stuff," Michael Sanchez said.

And the caring.

"People have heart, got a good heart, they wanna give back, where they were at, he was in the same spot I was, now he's doing a lot better now than we are so he's giving back," Sanchez said.

"Once you get a little help, no matter what it is, even the minimal help, it allows you to start moving up, to progress," G St. resident Henry Carbajal said.

Throughout the day more came to give and to help. Members of the local heavy metal band called Don't Tell Her That and their promoter brought food clothes and water they collected for the homeless at a recent benefit concert .

"Anything anybody can use here that is struggling outdoors we just gathered everything that we could, just trying to give back to the community," Pete Salazar said.

These acts of kindness during the Christmas season may be brief but sometimes they have a lasting effect.

"They help us keep focused that there's a better future for us if we really want it," Carbajal said.

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