GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Hundreds of people from around West Michigan gathered in Grand Rapids Sunday for an early Easter dinner. It's a free annual meal put on by Guiding Light, ensuring everyone gets a holiday meal.
“Without Guiding Light, who knows where people would be?" said Jonathan Miles of Grand Rapids.
Miles said Guiding Light not only puts on annual meals such as the Easter dinner to ensure everyone has a warm holiday meal with great company, whether they're struggling with addiction or homeless, but the organization helps change lives for the better.
“I was homeless about two years ago," said Miles. "My pastor told me about Guiding Light, so I came here for about three months for their Back to Work program, and I was able to save and get a place of my own.”
Miles is now working, thanks to the Guiding Light program.
The organization has helped more than 600 people gain employment over the last 12 months.
“They take 75% of your paycheck to save for you to afford housing," said Miles. "They want you to have a substantial amount saved up.”
Miles said he's grateful to join others from Guiding Light's programs, volunteers, and neighbors for a traditional Easter meal.
“For me to see the smile on people’s faces for just giving them food and feeding them is pretty great," said volunteer Grace Hulett, a 9th grader at Calvin Christian High School. "It brings a lot of joy to help people with the smallest of things.”
Hulett said she's been volunteering since she was two years old, and her favorite part is talking to all of the guests.
"It means a lot to these people," said Hulett. "I’ve heard people just pray about getting plates and silverware to eat their food with, or just food in general.”
For more information about Guiding Light, click here.