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New friends feast at annual Montana Rescue Mission's Christmas d - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

New friends feast at annual Montana Rescue Mission's Christmas dinner

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BILLINGS -- While many people travel away from home to spend time with family during the holidays, a Denver woman found herself spending Christmas in Billings without her family or a home.

Amanda Just, 39, said she is temporarily living in Billings as she attempts to become sober.

“Even though I am homeless, the people are really nice to me,” said Just. "It's working really well, I talk to my kids every night.”

Just said it’s difficult not to be spending Christmas with her kids, but she said she found a sense of family around the dinner table at the Montana Rescue Mission’s annual Christmas dinner.

“I could have sat in my room and sulked about (being away from my kids) but we all got dressed up and decided to head on over,” said Just, who wore a Santa hat as she ate her meal.

Just is one about 300 people who stopped in Monday at the MRM for a warm bite to eat, according to MRM Public Relations Director Denise Smith.

Each of the people around the table has a different story about what brought them in.

Men, women and children, many of whom are complete strangers, all shared a meal of ham, potatoes and green beans.

Just said the large helping of pecan pie was her favorite.

More than 65 volunteers sacrificed their time to give others a special meal and donations from the community made the feats possible.

An additional 300 meals were delivered to people who are home-bound.

Just said she is thankful that people are embracing the meaning of the season.

“It’s about Jesus, giving and helping one another,” said Just. “Billings is like a big Santa Claus.”

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