SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Resource centers for the unsheltered brought Christmas early this year, serving meals, warm clothing, free haircuts, and more.

Advocates said not only are the holidays difficult because of the cold weather, but they can also be a reminder of what people who live without a home have lost. 

“This is just something extra that helps stretch their holiday budget and make sure they get a festive meal like everyone else,” Executive Director of Crossroads Urban Center Glenn Bailey said. 

Rescue Mission Salt Lake and Crossroads Urban Center both held events today that brought Christmas to the homeless community. 

“Today is all about providing for the homeless Christmas with a cause and providing meals for people that need them,” Mac Saunders with Rescue Mission Salt Lake said. 

Rescue Mission Salt Lake said they gave out an estimated 1,600 warm meals. Even Santa Claus made an appearance to visit the girls and boys without a chimney or tree for Christmas, during a time advocates said is especially difficult for families. 

“Right now, our food pantries are so busy, I think, because of high rents, high food prices, high gasoline prices — people are under a lot of pressure right now,” Bailey said. 

Crossroads provided Christmas food baskets, handing out 650 turkeys in only two-and-a-half hours, an increase over last year.

This comes as shelters reach capacity. Mayor Mendenhall confirmed five homeless people died within the past week due to freezing temperatures, and in an emergency order, she opened 25 additional beds in each resource center for 30 days.  

Advocates said our homeless community needs more help. 

“This is not a left ideology and this is not a right ideology — this is humanitarian. People are dying on the streets, people are cold, and we need to find solutions,” Saunders said. 

These organizations are said they’re always looking for volunteers.