It just kept coming.
That was the theme this Christmas as donations for the Mary Jane Enrichment Center, on Ridge Avenue between 16th and 17th, came in everywhere from QVC in West Chester to a local service club at a Merion Hebrew school.
"You know how when a flood comes, you have to set up something to block the water off?," said Edna Williams, the leader of the center, who has been reaching out and feeding the homeless for years.
"Turkeys, hams, pies, toys, jackets, blankets, everything just kept coming," Williams, 69, said. "I have to keep on giving it out because it just keeps on coming in."
Williams, a giving, kindhearted woman, has been feeding the forgotten and forsaken for 40 years now. Before it became the Mary Jane Enrichment Center, the building was the Mary Jane Hotel, situated next to an Acme supermarket, a Today's Man, a five-and-dime store and a beauty parlor.
Now, outside the old North Philadelphia hotel, the streets are littered with garbage, many houses are abandoned and those who remain here live amidst blight and drugs.
But yesterday, the forgotten and forsaken trickled in to a flurry of Christmas activity.
They filed past Williams and her helpful crew and grabbed heaping plates of macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and turkey.
"Grab a plate and have a seat," Williams instructed in her stern yet motherly tone.
For three years now, Williams has had the special help of a family from Lower Merion, driven by the passion of a 14-year-old boy.
Avi Satlow and his family came for the third year yesterday to help Williams serve food and take care of her guests.
This year, Satlow enlisted the help of his fellow classmates and friends at Barrack Hebrew School, in Merion, where he is in 8th grade.
"I made a sign-up sheet for school and two of my friends responded to come help," Avi said.
Avi also hosted a poker party at his Merion home, where he lives with his mother Linda, father Eric, and sister Tali, 10.
His guests each brought a wrapped gift, mainly toys for kids, and he brought them to the Mary Jane Hotel yesterday to give out to those who needed them most.
Avi said the most rewarding part of his passion for service is knowing how many people he's helped feed or take care of.
This is something that his father said has been instilled in him since he was a child.
"From the time Avi was in kindergarten, he has been taught about a sense of justice and equality and what's right in the world," said Eric Satlow.
"To see others without food, it just makes sense for him to want to feed them."
And despite being exhausted from cooking all day Monday and serving food all Christmas morning, Eric Satlow said he and his service-driven family aren't giving up.
"We'll be here until they stop coming," he said with a smile as Avi and Tali served up gooey chocolate brownies. *