Center City church serves up Christmas gift for homeless Philadelphians

Tim Jimenez
December 25, 2018 - 10:32 am
Volunteers serve Christmas breakfast at Arch Street United Methodist Church.

Tim Jimenez/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) —

A Center City church opened up its doors Christmas morning to a few hundred people who were in need of a warm breakfast. 

Arch Street United Methodist Church has been serving the Christmas breakfast to people who are homeless for around 20 years.

Pastor Robin Hynicka says says the goal is to deliver a hot breakfast and five-star service.

"The emphasis is on hospitality and welcoming folks," Hynicka said, volunteers serving the meal restaurant style.

"It's about building community, right? And it's listening to each other, hearing each others' stories," Hynicka said. "It's supposed to be sharing whatever warmth we have, whether it's the heat of the sanctuary of the warmth of the heart."

Arch Street United Methodist Church has been serving the Christmas breakfast to people who are homeless for around 20 years.
Tim Jimenez/KYW Newsradio

It's all made possible with the help of dozens of volunteers who cook, serve and clean up.

Camina Whaley says she has seen firsthand that the holiday isn't just about what's under the tree, but what's in our hearts.

"Giving and making sure that we're taking care of each other," Whaley said.

Helping at the church is a Christmas morning tradition for her family.

"We’re here to serve and here to give. Especially on this day. So many people take things for granted and you see these people and some of them have stories that are unbelievable," Whaley said.

She said hearing those stories helps put herself in other people’s shoes and makes her think differently about her day-to-day life.

“Sometimes they don’t have a bed. A lot of these people, unfortunately don’t meet the deadline and they don’t get into a shelter and they’re out on the street. And I’m complaining about being cold for 15 minutes.”

Reginald Rosemond of Cheltenham is a first-time volunteer. He says being here puts things in perspective.

"Makes me realize how blessed I am by seeing people who are less fortunate than I am, so I need to share that," Rosemond said. "It's unfortunate that we live in a world with such disparity between the haves and the have-nots."