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Former Homeless Man Helps Others for Christmas - Eric Alvarez

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Christmas spirit at the Salvation Army in Nashville started with a prayer, and grew with every meal served to a person in need.

"They show smiles on their faces, said Edward Smith, who came in off the street for the Christmas dinner.  They don't look like they're stressed out.  They like to do this."

It makes me blessed to be able to reach out to them and give them love through a meal, said Jeni Waldrop, volunteer.

Tommy Rocco, 33, volunteered to serve meals to Nashvilles homeless on Christmas for the first time in his life and he says he, more than most people, knows what they're going through.

"About 10 years ago, I was homeless and I was taken in by the Salvation Army, Rocco said.

Rocco said he lived in the Salvation Army in Philadelphia for six months, where he received a roof over his head, a stipend and the training he needed to turn his life around.

"They kind of lifted me up out of the lowest part of my life, Rocco said.

From there, Rocco says he earned a degree and got a job.  Today, he calls Nashville home, and says improving his own life isn't enough.

"It's about taking it a step further than that and coming full circle and being able to give what was so freely given to me, Rocco said.

The Salvation Army says they served more than 250 dinners to needy Nashvillians Wednesday.

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