WARREN - ''Without them, we wouldn't really have a Christmas,'' Phyllis Stiles said of the Warren Family Mission.
For the 57-year-old of Warren, that meant there would be no Christmas dinner for herself, her daughter, Crystal Lane, or Stiles' two grandchildren, and no presents for those two young girls, Lane's daughters, Malika Pruitt, 5, and Tazia Cunningham, 2.
But Lane was able to get her daughters gifts and the foursome ate a pre-Christmas dinner at the mission on Elm Road N.E. Saturday, another worry off Lane's mind about getting through December.
Tribune Chronicle / Ron Selak Jr.
Mary Yura of Newton Falls scoops a spoonful of corn onto the plate of Malika Pruitt, 5, of Warren, Saturday at the Warren Family Mission’s annual Christmas dinner. Following Pruitt in line is her grandmother, Phyllis Stiles, 57, of Warren.
''It's helps because it's rough getting through the month,'' said Lane, 34, of Warren.
The dinner included ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, salad, corn, cole slaw and, of course, cookies and pies for dessert. Those who attended also were allowed to take a meal home, plus children were given a present. For those who couldn't make it to the mission, meals were delivered.
In all, more than 2,000 meals were served. And it was done all with gifts.
''The mission is solely funded on donations, so without people donating this, it wouldn't be possible,'' said Michelle Beauchene, the mission's director of development.
Trinette Pollard, 26, said she tries to make the Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners provided by the mission every year.''I came because I don't know whether I'm going to eat for the holidays or not,'' said Pollard of Warren.
Reginald McCain wasn't eating, but busy serving and filling up food trays that had gone empty. The 52-year-old said he's a resident of the mission and also its head cook.
''It's really something nice, nice for the community, for people to come here with their kids ... to see the smile on people's faces, the kids, when they get the toys,'' McCain said.
''Beautiful,'' said Tom Kloc, 63, of Warren Township, describing what the mission was doing for people needing help.
Kloc, who retired from the old Copperweld Steel in 1991, said the help is needed, especially since his income is fixed and having medical expenses.
''It's nice to know this is a place you can go, and I never was turned down,'' Kloc said.