DENVER (CBS4) – More than 3,000 homeless and less fortunate families were treated to a festive meal and Christmas presents on Sunday during Father Woody’s Christmas Party, an annual holiday tradition in the Denver metro area

Even though outside the snowy weather was cold and unforgiving, inside the warm welcome was a comfort.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Lovia Ship has volunteered at the annual Father Woody’s Christmas Party for almost three decades, greeting the homeless and needy who arrive for a warm meal and gifts.

“Giving is what it’s all about, you know,” Ship said.

Hundreds lined up at the downtown Denver Sheraton to receive a bit of Christmas cheer during a tough time of the year for many families. For some it’s an annual tradition, but for others like Antoinette Rogers, it was a first.

“It just opens my heart, it shows me that there are people out there that love; that love, that have compassion,” Rogers said.

The one person who is always present in one way or another is Father Woody, cofounder of the Samaritan House and pastor of several churches.

“Father Woody is in the house, he’s in the house,” Ship said. “That’s the way I feel, he keeps it going.”

The line outside of the Sheraton (credit: CBS)

The line outside of the Sheraton (credit: CBS)

Father Woody passed away in 1991, but his mission to serve those less fortunate continues to live on.

“Christmas is not about what you got, or what you get. It’s what you give and really what you give is all you ever keep,” Ship said.

Father Woody’s annual cash give away at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception will be held this Friday. Volunteers hand out $20 to the needy and homeless.

LINK: Father Woody’s Christmas Party