MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – With the help of more than 240 volunteers, Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery in Minneapolis brought Christmas cheer to hundreds of families in need.

Those who received a free meal Friday said the gift was one of the best they could’ve asked for this holiday.

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The event started around 11 a.m., and the line was building around noontime.

The families served got a free Christmas meal with all the trimmings. In addition to the food, there was also fun for children.

Kids got to spend time with Santa in an area designated as the “North Pole Room.” There, they received Christmas gifts and took pictures with Saint Nick.

Families were also treated to free portrait photos – something Julianna Buchholz greatly appreciated.

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“It brings tears of joy to my eyes, a lot of sunshine to my heart,” she said. “It’s absolutely amazing. A very wonderful experience.”

Buchholz says she was in a car accident in 2008 and is now disabled. It was her second year coming to the Christmas celebration at Rock Bottom.

“It’s just great to come out here,” she added. “I feel safe. I feel loved.”

The Christmas celebration is slated to go until 3 p.m.

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The volunteers expect to serve holiday meals to at least 1,600 homeless and less fortunate families.