By Michael Abeyta
DENVER (CBS) – Christmas is a time for family and celebration, but what if you don’t have any family here in the Denver area? That’s why Juan Padro the owner of Highland Tap & Burger created something for those people so they don’t have to be alone on Christmas.
He says, “I don’t claim to walk in anybody’s shoes, but what I do know is that the holidays can be lonely for some people.”
Tuesday the restaurant hosted their eighth “Orphan Christmas.” It’s a celebration for people who might be feeling a little lonely on the holiday.
Padro says, “It’s really about making sure people have a place to go.”
It started eight years ago owner Juan Padro noticed that some of his employees might be alone on Christmas, so he decided to throw them a party.
“And it just kind of caught on with our regulars and the public and it’s become somewhat of a tradition” he says.
Since then he’s done this eight times. The food and drinks are free and the staff donates their time to make sure everyone has someone to be with on Christmas.
Jared has been coming for eight years and he says this tradition means a lot to him. He says, “Everyone that’s doing this, I appreciate them so much.”
He adds that if you come alone don’t worry, you won’t be for long.
“If you don’t see someone that you know, you’re going to go up to them and you’re going to introduce yourself,” he says.
That’s why Juan will keep doing it year after year. He says, “This isn’t about money or work you know? It’s about just doing the right thing.”
Admission to the celebration is a donation. Every year Juan picks a new charity to give to. This year he raised money for Third Wave Volunteers, which provides solar water filters and other supplies to refugee camps in the most dangerous areas in the world.