Strangers step in to help others during holiday season - WSMV Channel 4

Strangers step in to help others during holiday season

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As a blast of winter weather is putting a crunch on organizations that help the homeless, but people from across Middle Tennessee are finding ways to chip in.

From turkeys to the trimmings and a little bit of time, that help is needed now more than ever.

A group of Nashville firefighters served their community in a different way than usual Friday.

"We do this 24/7, but at Christmas time, it's our time to give a little bit extra. And this is our way of doing it," said District Fire Chief Ardrel Sawyers.

Giving back is a big deal for the ladies and families at the Nashville Rescue Mission's women's campus.

"This time of the year is really rough for a lot of the ladies that are staying with us, because they are not with family. A lot of them don't even live in the same state as their family, and it reminds them a lot of their hardships," said Jean Lazenby, with Nashville Rescue Mission.

Around Nashville, that need is great, because more people need help and fewer people are offering it.

"We've seen it a little bit. This is probably the first year that we've seen a decline in the donations that have come in," Lazenby said.

A new report shows that it might not be any better in the new year. If the country goes off the fiscal cliff, many of the programs that help the homeless and hungry in Nashville could face cuts.

That's where donations come in.

Middle Tennessee State University nursing students did their part downtown Friday, handing out bags with basic necessities that they have spent the past month collecting.

And the first bag they handed out made a huge impact.

"It warmed my heart, because he took out the socks and put them on. It's just amazing all of the things we take for granted, it's something that they really need," MTSU student Katie Grimaud said.

Several organizations that help the homeless and hungry have already sustained federal cuts, so they say private donations - large or small - can made a huge difference.

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