It's a Christmas Dedra King won't soon forget. She's carving a new life path for herself, and her baby Perry, and the Rockford Rescue Mission is holding the lantern, guiding her on the journey.
"I'm looking for a closer relationship with God, looking to build something different, doing the same thing over and over again, time to do something different," says Dedra King.
Dedra and Perry are joining around 250 people for the Rescue Mission's annual Christmas banquet.
"We have 50 volunteers taking food to them, not cafeteria style. It's letting these people know that they are worthy of being served by somebody else, and they are just as important as anyone else," says Randa Noble, director of development for the Rockford Rescue Mission.
The spirit of Christmas and of giving has touched Jim Moore's life in a different way this year. He's a first-time volunteer.
"I decided it was time to start thinking about other people during the holiday season. There's always a lot of talk, I'm one of those guilty people, but I wanted to do something to make a difference," says Moore.
This Christmas banquet is a time of reflection for many, people from all different walks of life learning from each other and sharing in the true spirit of the season.
"I feel like it's important to remember that all of these folks are people, they all have dignity and needs," says Moore.
The Rescue Mission serves three meals a day, 365 days a year to anyone in need. The mission also provides safe shelter and recovery programs.