PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – For many of us, one of the staples of Christmas Day is getting together with family for a holiday meal.

For others, it’s about serving those we don’t know.

Whether it’s a church or a business, one family or an entire neighborhood, we found events like this going on all over the area today. Long standing traditions people say they hope will continue for years to come.

In the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, at the Omni William Penn Hotel, they’ve teamed up with the Salvation Army for more than 20 years, providing Christmas dinner for families in need.

“They have turkey and gravy and stuffing and all the fixings for your Christmas Day dinner,” said volunteer Lisa Hilty.

For three hours, volunteers serve meals, for the homeless, those who can’t afford to cook a meal for their families, even people who just have nowhere else to go on days like today.

And the need is always great.

“We are expecting between 300 and 350 this year,” said Hilty. “Last year we actually served 600 people.”

Volunteers see some of the same faces year after year.

“We get a lot of guests who come to this hotel every year,” said Hilty. “This hotel really pulls out all the stops for our guests. They use the linens, the silver, the crystal; they really treat everybody like royalty and like family.”

And it’s not just the customers who feel at home.

“Our volunteers have a great time too,” Hilty said. “We have volunteers who’ve been here the entire time this hotel has been involved as well.”

Coordinator Hilty has been doing this for 19 years.

She says this is what Christmas is all about.

“Christmas is not about toys and Santa,” she said. “Christmas is about helping your fellow man and doing what I believe we were put on this earth to do.”

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