For more than 70 years, Haven of Rest Ministries has opened its doors on Christmas Day to serve dinner to hundreds of people in need.
But if you ask Executive Director Jeff Kaiser, he'll tell you it's more than just a hot meal.
"We really want to get to know the individual one-on-one," said Jeff Kaiser, executive director of Haven of Rest. "So our goal is always to make that connection even though we might have 200 or 240 people staying down here a night."
Whether someone is homeless, hungry or alone on Christmas Day, Haven of Rest spends the holiday preparing a fresh meal for hundreds of individuals and families around the Akron area. Each guest also received a bag of toiletry items and a Christmas stocking filled with treats.
"A lot of these people are very discouraged and there are a lot of hardships in their life. So we want to try to encourage them and offer them hope."
55-year-old Christopher Lemonte Lockett is no stranger to Haven of Rest Ministries. Several years ago, Lockett walked into Haven of Rest looking for shelter. On Friday morning, he returned to spend the holiday spreading a message of hope and strength.
"We damaged, but not done," said Locket. "That's why I'm here, to send that message."
Lockett said his mother passed away when he was just 18-year-old after battling alcoholism. He was left to take care of his siblings and later found himself battling the same addiction.
Lockett said Haven of Rest became his home where he could gain strength from the people who he now calls family.
"Everything that I've asked them for, they've never let me down. It's a beautiful place."