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Volunteers deliver meals, gifts along with Christmas cheer

For many Americans, Christmas isn't just about Santa and presents, it's about giving back to their communities and helping those less fortunate. Across the country, thousands of volunteers turned out to share their Christmas spirit.

In New York City, the family of Eric Garner, who died in July during an encounter with police, joined the Rev. Al Sharpton at the National Action Network headquarters to serve Christmas dinner to the needy.

Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, and his widow, Esaw Garner, helped with the annual feast for the homeless and senior citizens. They also gave out toys to children.

Across the city, volunteers like Linda Exman and Marilyn Stetar spent Christmas Day volunteering for Citymeals-on-Wheels delivering meals and cheer to the homebound elderly.

"In a lot of cases they wouldn't have a meal today or they wouldn't have anyone come visit them," Stetar said. "You just feel like you are doing a good thing, and it makes you feel happy."

Citymeals-on-Wheels volunteers deliver a hot meal and a little TLC to homebound elderly like 91-year-old Pat Norton. CBS News

One of the recipients was 91-year-old Pat Norton.

"It's overwhelming because I don't have family, so I really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart," Norton said after. "It means more to me than I can say, honestly."

Exman and Stetar were among 400 volunteers for the group aiming to deliver meals to 8,700 people in New York City on Christmas Day.

"If we can take a little bit of this positive energy and bring it to the doors of those who can't come in it is a very special day," said Beth Shapiro, the executive director of Citymeals-on-Wheels.

The stories of holiday service span the country. In Chicago, a brother and sister spent Christmas Eve delivering gifts to the less fortunate.

At the Los Angeles Mission, volunteers served approximately 4,000 meals to the homeless on the night before Christmas.

Volunteers served as Santa for shelter residents in Texas. And in places like Lexington, Kentucky and Philadelphia, hundreds in need received a free Christmas breakfast.

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