PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) - A Providence homeless shelter served up Thanksgiving meals to as many as 40 homeless men and women Thursday.

"We get to go home to our families, they don't have nowhere to go home to, this is home right now," said Emmanuel House Director, Dotty Perreault.

Emmanuel House, on the city's south side, provides warm beds and food to the homeless year-round. But on Thanksgiving, they got special treatment, with a catered meal and dessert.

"We help serve food, we make the food, and we make sure everyone's fed. It's a really great way to help out the people in need and it's one of the few things you can do," said volunteer Josh Jahnz.

Nearly a dozen people volunteered to serve up turkey dinner at Emmanuel House to those who need it most. Josh Jahnz, 18, and Connor Guilfoyle, 15, have been volunteering at the shelter for years.

"I wanted to come out, help the community a little bit, give back, make people happy," said Guilfoyle.

They help shelter director Dotty Perreault run a smooth operation, giving the homeless a warm meal and a little love.

"The holidays are a depressing time for them. So it's good to keep them together in unity. This is where they live, this is where they congregate, this is their lifeline right now."

Perreault knows the feeling firsthand. She was homeless for six years while struggling with addiction.

"A lot of them know me from the streets from being homeless, and to give back to them what was not available when I was homeless is, there's like not even words to describe it."

Now she's clean, and wouldn't want to spend her holidays any other way.

"It's changed me, and this is the most rewarding job I could ever do," said Perreault.

The next big dinner at Emmanuel House is on Christmas Day at 11:30 a.m. Click here for details on how to volunteer.

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