AUSTIN — A unique kind of holiday party in Austin gave hundreds of people a place to feel at home -- because they don't have homes of their own.
The Sunrise Homeless Navigation Center, in affiliation with Sunrise Community Church, brought people who are homeless or living in transition together on Sunday for the festivities.
There was a bonfire outside, a hot meal served and all who came walked away with gift bags.
The event was expecting 40 volunteers and hundreds of people in attendance.
Volunteers include the members of the community and local first responders.
Mark Hilbelink, director of the organization and lead pastor at the church, said it has become a holiday tradition.
"For a lot of homeless people, they are disconnected from family or disconnected from a support network and so, for a lot of them, the homeless community is their support network," Hilbelink said.
He said they feel it's a way to give back.
"It's kind-of a chance to take a break from needing to move, from being pushed around, people looking down on them, people kind-of being hateful towards them and to kind-of get a chance to just be," Hilbelink said. "So, just like you would get together with your support network at Christmas, we give them a chance to get together with their support network at Christmas."
The people who attended the event agree with Hilbelink.
"This is like a community, you know. It's like a big family here, you know," Kimberly Treuter said.
"It just means a lot to show up to a place where they can come as well and all hang out and have a Merry Christmas," Juliette Wise said.
If you want to get involved and volunteer with the Sunrise Homeless Navigation Center, click here.