Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The Christmas holiday is a time that many people spend with family. However, getting home to see family can be hard for some of the soldiers stationed at Ft. Jackson.

With that in mind, a local organization donated their time and made a home made old fashioned spaghetti dinner.

"It's just to thank them," said Mike Mancari with the Mother Teresa Knights of Columbus Assemblies.

For the men and women who protect our country, there's no such thing as a Christmas break.

"We didn't expect much, not like this," said Sergio Mendez.

About 200 Soldiers at Ft. Jackson didn't get to go home for Christmas, so volunteers with the Mother Theresa Knights of Columbus brought home to them.

"We got 750 homemade meatballs and homemade sauce," said Mancari.

This is the organizations third year hosting a spaghetti dinner for the troops; Mancari is retired military and says giving back to the troops is important.

"There are a lot of other things that they could be doing but they decided to work in the military, you have to support them. They are the reason we are here and able to make this dinner so it just gives you that good feeling all around."

Sergio Mendez is from New Jersey, he could not go home because his family was a victim of Hurricane Sandy. He says seeing the support from strangers makes him feel good.

"I didn't even expect people clapping as much as they did. It was such a surprise. I didn't even think anyone would be thinking about us for the holidays you know," said Mendez.

"It makes me proud to be a part of this," said Sergeant Moody.

For other soldiers like Sergeant Moody, who is from Montana, he says seeing the support from the community lets him know every day he made the right choice by joining the Army.

"I grew up in an environment where everyone was out for themselves, no one every stopped to look behind them and try to take care of anyone else, so seeing my superiors actually join in and talk to us and ask hey how are you doing how are you enjoying the meal, it really makes me proud to be a part of it," said Moody.

Retired Navy officer Thomas Paige says seeing the smile on the soldiers' faces is all the thanks he needs.

"We don't expect them to say thank you to us but when they show their appreciation, that makes us feel really great inside to be able to express to them how we really feel for the sacrifices they make for us," said Paige.

Read or Share this story: http://on.wltx.com/1lNSuWk