Salt Lake City community gives everyone a home on Christmas

SALT LAKE CITY — Dozens of volunteers dedicated their Christmas to feeding those experiencing homelessness in Salt Lake City.

“They want to come year after year,” said Pamela Atkinson. “They say that this makes Christmas for them.”

This year, the advisor to Utah Gov. Spencer Cox planned to feed 1,500 people thanks to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints donating steaks, potatoes and pies, and the Grand America for cooking it all.

“I think it makes people feel good,” said Atkinson. “Number one, they love steak dinner, and they tell me this is the best meal they’ve had of the year. Number two, all of my volunteers are treating everybody with dignity and love and respect. And when people leave here, their self-worth is up one or two notches.”

While Salt Lake City’s unsheltered enjoyed a warm meal this Christmas at the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall, Club Verse opened its doors to give the LGBTQ+ community a safe space to call home for the holiday.

“Christmas, you know, it’s a time for family and friends,” said bar manager Lyn Katoa. “So there’s a lot of people in the community that don’t have that, so we have become the chosen family.”

The club wanted to give everyone a place where they can be themselves, said owner Micheal Repp.

“It’s more about the safety of the younger generation that’s coming up that may have been disowned or displaced by their families, or even their chosen friends,” he said. “They’ve made a change in life, and they just don’t have that network available, and that’s why we’re here.”

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