Families give new meaning to ‘Christmas service’
What better to do on Christmas Day than to do something for people who have no home?
That is what the families of Jamey and Tara Luna and Andre and Kristin Ebaben of Lost Springs did Sunday.
Gracie Luna, 14, and her 11-year-old sister, Sophia, told their mother they wanted to help the less fortunate on Christmas. Their parents cast about for something they could do and settled on helping at Salina Rescue Mission. Their older daughter, Whitney, and her boyfriend, Alex Phillips, also volunteered.
When Kristin Ebaben heard about it, she volunteered her family, sons Austin, 13, and Andrew, 11. Her husband had to work.
“I was a little nervous at first about going by myself to be with so many men, but they were clean, so respectful, and thankful,” she said.
The two families worked together to prepare and serve food provided by various donors. Younger children stacked cups and brought food out from storage while older ones cut food, put things in ovens, served pie and drinks, and washed dishes.
“We thought we were going there to help, but when they saw there were nine of us, they left us on our own,” Ebaben said.
She noted that all of the men at the mission have jobs and contribute toward their keep.
“We asked some of them questions to get a feel for their situation,” she said. “They were laughing and joking with each other and had been to chapel. One man said he had just become a Christian, and this was his best Christmas ever.”
The experience was an eye-opener for Ebaben and her family, especially her younger son, Andrew.
“I saw a guy who had been praying for a long time,” he said. “It was so sad. I wish we could go back again.”
Andrew’s mother added, “It made him get out of himself and see what other people are going through.”
She is considering going back again with her family. In addition to cooking, she said, as a beautician, she could give free haircuts.