OGDEN -- Many people who must work on Christmas Day grumble about not having the time off to celebrate the holiday.
Not Curtis Herbert. There's no place else he'd rather be.
A hired cook at St. Anne's Center, Herbert spent his Christmas morning preparing pork roast, yams, gravy, green beans and other food to serve lunch to more than 100 homeless and needy people.
Herbert, who himself is a live-in resident of St. Anne's who started the paid position several months ago, said the opportunity to work and cook for people is one he doesn't take for granted.
"Thankful doesn't even describe the word," he said. "St. Anne's has been so good to me."
An ex-felon who was released from jail in March following an assault conviction, Herbert said he was reluctant to go to the shelter for help. Being in and out of jail and unable to get a job because of his criminal history, Herbert said he's been homeless off and on for 10 years.
He decided to go to St. Anne's a week after he got out of jail, mainly because he just wanted to get out of the rain.
"I felt safe," he said. "I didn't have to be on guard. Being locked up will do that to you, make you always feel on guard. It was the best decision I've ever made."
Now clean and sober, Herbert said he pays rent to St. Anne's out of his paycheck to stay at the center while he looks for housing that will accept him.
He said he's grateful for the program at St. Anne's, and with his first paycheck, he made a small donation back to the center.
"It wasn't much, but it was from my heart," he said.
Herbert had plenty of community volunteers in the kitchen helping him serve up Christmas lunch to people.
Millee, 8, and Conley, 11, Breshears came with their family on Christmas to help serve.
While spooning peaches onto trays Saturday, Millee said she was excited when her mom told her they would be serving the Christmas meal.
"It feels really, really good," Conley said, laying a spoonful of salad on a plate.
Kelly and Vickie Kent have been volunteering on Christmas for the last four years.
Kelly said he initially came in 2006 because he was in the middle of a divorce, leaving him alone on Christmas.
"I decided to do something good with my time," he said. "It's been a heartwarming experience."
After the two started dating, both Kelly and Vickie continued the tradition of serving on Christmas.
"It's pretty humbling," Vickie said. "We complain about so much frivolous things, when they are just content with just a shopping cart full of everything they own. They are so grateful."
Kelly said that is what strikes them most every year -- the majority who come through are grateful just to have a meal on Christmas.
"Out of about 100, five are as high as a kite and have a nasty attitude," he said. "But the rest of them were happy. You wouldn't know they were homeless and coming to a shelter. They have nothing and they are happy."