BOISE, Idaho — Twelve families stayed at a Best Western in Boise for the holidays as part of a Christmas Camp hosted by a local outreach program.
The rare treat for these families to relax and spend quality time together was organized by Astegos, an outreach program that provides counseling and housing services for the homeless.
"Their day literally starts at 6 am every day and most of it is just spent walking, and surviving, hunting down food," Tim Flaherty, the executive director of Astegos.org, said.
Families were able to check into the hotel on Christmas Eve and spend the next two days eating, relaxing and opening presents.
They were also treated to live music by the Boise Philharmonic and the Boise Gay Men's Chorus.
"I feel like the music brings harmony and some peace and relaxation," Veronica Nichols said.
Nichols, her husband Trever and their two daughters have been in and out of Treasure Valley homeless shelters, which has been stressful for the family.
Fortunately, the family was able to find a new home and volunteered at the Christmas Camp.
"They get the chance to breathe, just kind of enjoy it, instead of focusing on what's my next move for the day," Nichols said.
Although this getaway is just for a couple days, Flaherty hopes that it will be a lasting memory for the homeless families there.
"This time of year is really about sharing love, sharing joy, everybody gets a present at Christmas, I mean isn't that what we all want," Flaherty said.