Santa portrayed by shelter coordinator Casey Sawyer for Serenity House of Clallam County, gives gift-giving directions to Serenity House client Roger Smith, right, as Viola Ware of the Rediscovery Program looks on during meal and gift distribution at Veterans Park on Christmas Day in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe /Peninsula Daily News)

Santa portrayed by shelter coordinator Casey Sawyer for Serenity House of Clallam County, gives gift-giving directions to Serenity House client Roger Smith, right, as Viola Ware of the Rediscovery Program looks on during meal and gift distribution at Veterans Park on Christmas Day in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe /Peninsula Daily News)

Serenity House delivers Christmas to homeless

Salvation Army provides meal, gifts on Christmas Eve

PORT ANGELES — Some of the recipients cried when they were given a hot meal on a special winter day.

Serenity House staff distributed 50 meals on Christmas Day to people who were not presently receiving services, said Casey Sawyer, coordinator of the nighttime shelter, who portrayed Santa Claus during the deliveries Friday afternoon.

Santa portrayed by shelter coordinator Casey Sawyer for Serenity House of Clallam County, gives gift-giving directions to Serenity House client Roger Smith, right, as Viola Ware of the Rediscovery Program looks on during meal and gift distribution at Veterans Park on Christmas Day in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe /Peninsula Daily News)

Santa portrayed by shelter coordinator Casey Sawyer for Serenity House of Clallam County, gives gift-giving directions to Serenity House client Roger Smith, right, as Viola Ware of the Rediscovery Program looks on during meal and gift distribution at Veterans Park on Christmas Day in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe /Peninsula Daily News)

“About 20 percent cried,” he said. “They were just so touched by our outreach.”

A Serenity House van delivered the meals prepared by head cook Sarah Grenot and other staff members, first to the Veterans Park on Lincoln Street in Port Angeles, then to the Jessie Webster Park, City Pier and to various campsites of homeless in the Port Angeles area that are known to Serenity House staff.

“People are always glad to see us,” said Sawyer, who despite the cold was still sweating in his Santa suit a little after 5 p.m. Friday after meal distribution began at 3 p.m.

“We do the same thing at Thanksgiving.”

Meals consisting of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pie and candy canes were delivered to people living without shelter this winter.

Also delivered were gifts of hats,glows, socks, scarfs and an assortment of other warm clothing, Sawyer said.

The Christmas delivery just scratched the surface of the need.

Sawyer said that Serenity House staffers are aware of some 200 people who are not getting services right now.

On Christmas Eve, the Salvation Army in Port Angeles distributed 60 to-go meals for Christmas.

At the same time, River Jenson of Carlsborg handed out gifts, said Port Angeles Salvation Army Major Ron Wehnau. Jensen has collected toiletries and other goods to create holiday gift bags for the homeless since 2016, when she was 10. She has kept it up each year since with the help of her mother, Anna Jensen.

In addition, other woman also provided gifts, Wehnau said.

The take-home meals consisted of ham with special seasonings, mashed potatoes, green salad, a roll and fresh baked pumpkin cookies.

“It’s been a good day,” Wehnau said.

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Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 — leaver a message — or at [email protected]

Reporter Rob Ollikainen and Photojournlist Keith Thorpe contributed to this story.

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