Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Fort Jackson soldiers in basic training don't always have the chance to go home for Christmas, but one Midlands group is making sure these soldiers don't miss out on a family meal.
Home for the holidays is something soldiers like Dalontae Virgil don't get to experience this time around.
"Most of the soldiers here volunteered to stay instead of going home for Christmas," Virgil explained. "Right now this is all we have. This is our family right now."
One of the things that usually comes along with being home for the holidays is a home-cooked meal. Tom Paige is one of the folks that helped make it happen for these soldiers away from home.
"When they get in, they get a home cooked meal. Scratch-made. Being Italian, it's got to be scratch-made," explained Paige.
Soldiers traveled to the Our Lady of the Hills Catholic Church to give them a piece of home.
It's the eighth annual Christmas dinner put on by the Knights of Columbus. Organizers say they do it to honor those who serve the military and sacrifice for our country daily.
The reactions from the soldiers included a lot of smiling faces and laughter, sitting around the table enjoying a meal as a family.
"It makes me feel really happy that I know I have another family outside of the army that's looking out for me," said Virgil.
Soldiers were also given bags with items to use in their free time like crossword puzzles.