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Christmas came early with 'I Believe in Miracles' banquet in Lakeland

The annual event provides haircuts, makeovers, clothes, health screenings and a meal to community members who are in need or homeless.

LAKELAND, Fla. — Christmas came early on Sunday in Lakeland. 

The Dream Center was home to the annual "I Believe in Miracles" banquet -- a party for those in need and homeless community members.

The day started with free haircuts for whoever needed a fresh cut. 

“I really like it. And the people around here are real nice and friendly,” said Kevin Zanders as his hair was being cut. 

Zanders was thrilled to be a part of the event, which served 285 people throughout the day.

“Well, when I heard about the event I thought it was overwhelming to me because it’s a lot of things that I need to be done, as far as haircut and health benefits and what-not. So I took advantage of it and came down,” Zanders said.

Two nurses were doing health screenings and there was a room full of gently-used clothes for those who were interested. Attendees like Loretta White enjoyed the free make-up tutorial and makeover.

“It is wonderful. I am really enjoying myself," she said. "I was thinking not to come, but I am here and I am really enjoying myself."

Every attendee also goes home with a gift, a brand new pair of shoes.

“It’s the holidays. Come have dinner with a friend. Come have dinner with our family. And in this case, we made the community our family," Organizer Paulette Rolle-Alesnik said. "You know people are out there in the streets, or in their cars, or I don’t know where they are. But if you come today we’ll feed you, we’ll love on you. And you know, just come have dinner with us."

And even though many of the attendees are not in the best position, they were in incredible spirits and enjoying the event for what it was -- a party.

“I love the attention, it’s overwhelming and you know I am just having fun at the same time," Zanders said.

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