LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- On Christmas, more than 6,000 people are filling Jefferson County homeless shelters and the need for help is great.
The Salvation Army is working with struggling families, including a war veteran who is down on his luck.
Volunteer, Tony Robinson, was spreading good cheer in his Santa hat.
"My parents died when I was young and I've been working ever since I was 14 or 15-years-old," said Tony Robinson.
He was working hard to give back as a volunteer with the Salvation Army.
Richard Boykin was one of nearly 300 folks eating a hot meal.
Boykin, a war veteran from the 1970s, down on his luck in a down economy.
He nearly lost his home after troubled times. His wife was murdered in 2005 and his son is stuck in a nursing home.
"I'm trying to get my life back. But I died after that happened. It killed me. My house started to go down and the government is on that. I'm trying to get some things together," Boykin said.
He's not alone, according to an annual survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors there are 1,532 homeless people in Louisville.
Twenty-three percent are mentally ill, 10 percent are veterans and 8 percent are victims of domestic violence.
"I like the fact we can be sort of middle men. People provide things for us that we can give to others and it might make their day a little better," Major Michael Hawley with the Salvation Army of Louisville said.
It's not only the homeless who needed help this holiday.
A group of brothers and sisters volunteered their time to help boys and girls in need.
"That's really what I wanted for Christmas is to come volunteer. This is my first time but I really like it,” the volunteers said. “We're changing lives."
The Salvation Army and Wayside Christian Mission served hundreds of meals to the homeless and less fortunate on Christmas. They’re looking for volunteers and donations year round.