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FDNY, New Yorkers Celebrate Christmas By Giving Back

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg greets diners at annual Christmas Eve lunch for the homeless at City Hall restaurant, Dec. 24, 2013. (credit: Samantha Modell/NYC Mayor's Office)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg greets diners at annual Christmas Eve lunch for the homeless at City Hall restaurant, Dec. 24, 2013. (credit: Samantha Modell/NYC Mayor’s Office)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Christmas may be about gift giving but more importantly, the holiday season is a time for giving back.

Whether you’re a volunteer, a business owner, or even a member of the FDNY, there are plenty of ways New Yorkers are giving back to their community this Christmas.

For more than 15 years, an upscale TriBeCa restaurant has opened its doors to the homeless on Christmas Eve.

As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, the tradition continued Tuesday at City Hall restaurant.

As he does every year on Christmas Eve, Henry Meer shut down his upscale Duane Street restaurant to serve dinner to families living in city homeless shelters, CBS 2’s Don Champion reported.

“On plates, napkins, with smiles and hugs and laughter,” Meer told Diamond.

“I think it’s wonderful,” a 15-year-old who lives at a shelter in Brooklyn said. “Many people, they just don’t care so I think it’s nice that we get to have a chance to do something.”

Also part of the annual tradition, Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited to shake hands with the diners.

“Everybody can help. You don’t have to be rich, you don’t have to be famous. All you gotta do is care,” said Bloomberg.

In Harlem, members of the FDNY spent Tuesday morning delivering meals to elderly residents, including one woman who is 109 years old, Champion reported.

“The fact that these people might not have visitors or a warm meal and the fact that we can offer our time and work with Citymeals to do something like this is just great,” firefighter Daniel Glover said.

Between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Citymeals-on-Wheels will deliver 23,000 meals to those in need.

For those of you looking to give back this holiday, the organization said it is still accepting volunteers to deliver meals Tuesday night and Wednesday.

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