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Tent City residents in Greenville celebrate Christmas with caring community

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It's hard to imagine a life where you have to live under a bridge, cold, homeless and hungry. Some of Greenville's homeless population living in one of the Tent Cities got a taste of Christmas this year, WYFF4 reported December 24.

Most residents who call Greenville home don't realize there are Tent City communities where the homeless have set up a neighborhood. Greenville has several, where residents live a hard existence and govern their own.

On Christmas Eve, more than 100 people who live in the Tent City near downtown were treated to a surprise concert by Greenville native Edwin McCain. An area church group provided a hot meal. Bobby Sexton, who is a Greenville business owner, grilled more than 60 chickens for the event. And the community came together to give the homeless in the area a little taste of Christmas cheer.

The Community Pet Project(TCPP) is only one of many local groups who brought a little happiness to the cats and dogs who have remained with their owners in Tent City. Their Facebook page is filled with beautiful photos of the resident Tent City dogs enjoying their new toys.

TCPP was unable to deliver the gifts personally, because the homeless don't trust people they don't know. Local agencies who have won their trust made the deliveries for them.

Food, blankets and other necessities were also donated to the homeless who live under the Peter Hollis Bridge near downtown.

Melinda Seigler with the Greenville Homeless Coalition / SHARE was out on December 20 delivering presents that were donated. Melinda brought back a message from those who benefited from the kindness of strangers.

"These pets are well loved and cared for. Their living circumstances aren't the greatest, but they are special to the tent city community. The folks are very grateful for your donations and will put them to great use!! Thanks."

More than being pitied, the homeless of Greenville want jobs. Many lost their homes due to the decline in the economy. Some became sick and couldn't hold down a job. Others suffer from mental illness. South Carolina isn't a good state to live in if you suffer from any kind of health issue.

The homeless would like the residents of Greenville to know they didn't choose this way of life. They are making the best out of the hand life has dealt them, and their pets help them to do that.

It was nice for the volunteers to share this Christmas with those less fortunate. Christmas is about giving, and Greenville County is working hard at helping the homeless get off the streets. There just aren't enough low cost housing solutions available.

When you lay down tonight in your comfortable bed, please remember those who are less fortunate. It's good to know there are still kind people willing to sacrifice part of their holiday to make things a bit brighter for the less fortunate in the community.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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