ROCK HILL — There was one message the guests had for the volunteers at St. Mary Catholic Church's Christmas lunch Sunday.
"Bless them, because they're all putting forth an effort to those in need," said Darrett Crockett, 37.
Crockett accepted a tray of turkey, ham, sweet potatoes and more as he talked about the necessity of people and places like these. He and his sister ate, laughed and talked together in the church's Bannon Hall with at least 50 others who came for the food and camaraderie.
The church has been serving its Christmas lunch for more than 20 years, organizers said. Volunteers were also piling food into containers and delivering them to people in the area.
"It's a really good thing," Crockett said. "Everyone needs a little help sometimes."
People like the Lintners are happy to give that help.
After spending months in Spain and Honduras helping others, Meghan Lintner came home to the best Christmas present: continuing to help others. "It's been great," said Lintner, 22. "I was very excited. I love helping people."
Nick and Carol Lintner brought Meghan and their two other children, Kelly, 20, and Nick, 18, to volunteer.
Having just graduated from Elon University in North Carolina, Meghan Lintner is still looking for ways to serve. She is awaiting news on her Fulbright Program application.
The Fulbright Program, an international education exchange sponsored by the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, has helped thousands of people continue researching or teaching abroad.
With her role model of Mother Teresa, Lintner hopes to return to Honduras.
"She said, 'Once you do it, you'll know why I'm so passionate about it,'" Carol Lintner said.
Giving back and being grateful was what it was about for them.
"It's the time of year to give," she said. "It's the meaning of Christmas. It's not all about Santa Claus. It's a joy."
In the past, she said the family has done a lot of community service around the holiday season, with the hopes that their children will see how important it is to give back and help others.
"They like to reach out," she said. "Once we leave, they beg to come back."
Kelly Lintner was happy to "spread the Christmas joy."
"It feels good to get out and do something," she said.
And the people they helped touched them as well.
Natalia Wszeborowska, 15, was looking for a community service project as part of her Confraternity of the Christian Doctrine classes at the church.
"I like it," she said. "I didn't do it just for the community service. I did it because I knew it'd be a good experience."
The people they met while serving touched them as well.
"There was a man going through the line singing Christmas carols," Wszeborowska said. "It was a great mood booster."
Nicole E. Smith 803-329-4068