Homeless shelter in Harrisburg brightening residents holiday spirits

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A homeless shelter in Dauphin County is making Christmas extra special for those staying there.

With the help of volunteers and donations from around the community, residents at Bethesda Mission Women`s and Children’s shelter in Harrisburg were able to celebrate Christmas and open presents.

Tammara Hamidou is one of 18 women spending the holiday there, many with tales of hardships.

“I’'m grateful, I really am grateful," said Tammara Hamidou, shelter resident. “It’s not just a shelter to me, it’s a place that you can call home," she added.

“My addiction got me here," said Ashlee Nolan,  shelter resident.

Each resident say they feel a sense of gratitude for the outpouring love and support as they work on getting back on their feet.

“I do feel grateful because not everybody gets this opportunity," said Nolan. “This was the absolute gift of my life," she added.

On Christmas , with the help of volunteers and donations, each resident had gifts to unwrap.

“I cried! It took me an hour and a half to open up my own gifts because I was so overwhelmed watching everybody else," said Wanasha Deveaux, shelter resident.

Many of the women received things they’ve only dreamed of having.

“When I was living on my own I didn’t have the money to buy the nice things that I wanted, but now I have these boots!" said Deveaux.

“When I opened up the box I looked in it and my hands just started shaking, I didn’t even ask for this necklace and earrings and it was given to me as a gift and it was special," said Hamidou.

“It blows their mind that people out there care enough for them that they take time to buy them things and are worried about their well being," said Shelley Brooks, Director at Bethesda Mission Women's and Children's shelter.

However, for many of the women, being able to celebrate Christmas was more than just opening presents.

“It’s just not about the gifts, it’s about Christmas in a whole and you know the meaning of Christmas and love, it’s all about love," said Hamidou.

For more information on Bethesda Mission Women's and Children's shelter visit: bethesdamission.org

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