ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10/WETM) — Hundreds of helping hands made sure everyone had a Merry Christmas by volunteering at the Capital City Rescue Mission. Over 3500 meals were served, both dine-in and take-out, to people in the community from all walks of life.

“Some are homeless, and they actually stay here. We have 250 people a night now. But also, a lot of them are lonely and have mental issues in their life, issues of family breakdown and troubles,” Perry Jones, Executive Director of Capital City Rescue Mission told News10, “older people who, everybody’s gone. But it’s a festive day, so it’s not like they’re going to come to a place that’s dead. This is alive.”

Perry Jones has been the Executive Director at the mission since 1982. He’s seen the Christmas celebration get bigger and more elaborate over the years.

“It’s also become very busy, but people come because it’s like their home for the holidays,” Jones told News10.

No home on Christmas would be complete without a delicious meal, complete with ham, stuffing, veggies, and pie. Volunteers prepped for days, and spent Christmas seating guests and serving plates.

Lydia Anderson, a student at Hudson Valley Community College, came back to the mission to help out after volunteering for the first time last year. She tells News10 she knows what it’s like being on the other side of the counter.

“I was one of these people one day,” Anderson told news10, “and so I just feel like I’m giving back to the people who helped me out.”

For Alfred Burch, volunteering has been part of his journey becoming sober and recovering from addiction. He credits his church and Capital City Rescue Mission for being where he is now.

“All that bad stuff you get rid of,” Burch told News10, “you’ve got to put some good stuff in there to replace it, or else you’ll go right back to the bad stuff.”

Besides the meal, the rescue mission had a chapel service with a birthday cake for baby Jesus, and they also handed out thousands of presents.