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Former homeless woman serves other homeless on Christmas Day

Posted at 5:56 PM, Dec 25, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-25 18:22:47-05

PETERSBURG, Va (WTVR) -- During this season of giving you don't have to look very far to find Stephanie Thomas, who spent Christmas Day giving of her time to help those less fortunate. 

"This is the first time I'm feeding the homeless," Thomas said.

Difficulties Thomas knows all too well, after overcoming a drug addiction and homelessness last year.

"I was laying on benches, I was in the cold, I didn't have nowhere to live," Thomas recalled.  "I was sleeping in cars, I was living place to place."

But on Christmas Day inside a Petersburg Center, Thomas along with dozens of other volunteers served hot meals with all the trimmings to those in need.

"It's nice what people will do for others and I appreciate that," William Martin said as he prepared to eat.

The woman spearheading the effort was Kim Winston who spent months putting it all together, in order to help those facing tough times.  It's a path of difficulty Winston is not unfamiliar with after battling and beating cancer in 2010.

"Its not me," Winston said.  "If it weren't for the volunteers and helpers it wouldn't go on."

In a unique way to heal herself Winston decided to help others.  Years later she's still giving back

"So many people are in need nowadays," Winston said.  "If they need clothes, food or toys, they could just come here and whatever I collected it's what they would get."

By the hundreds they came to enjoy food, entertainment, free clothes and new toys.  To top it all off, holiday hugs were also given out to the strangers turned friends.

"It's like right now I can say I'm blessed," Thomas exclaimed. 

"Just seeing people go out with smiles on their faces makes it all worthwhile," Winston said.

Winston said at least 200 people were expected to be served inside the Petersburg Resources Center.  And for the nearly 40 volunteers they not only served up good food, but were also spreading good cheer to those who otherwise may not have had a happy holiday.