Family once helped during Christmas now giving back

Bobbi's Homestyle Catering Charity Benefit

This day is very special for many New Mexican families. It's a time for togetherness and peace. But many families in New Mexico go without even the most basic things on Christmas.

Two Albuquerque women say they know what it's like to be down on your luck, and they also know what it feels like when someone else steps up to help. "About 28 years ago, I was a single mother and I was struggling," said Mary Linton. Cynics say no good deed goes unpunished, but it's easy to forget about all the good deeds that grow more and more good deeds.

"I had a family that took us out, bought us food, clothes," said Linton. "I think about them every year for 28 years." Linton was working hard to provide for her family three decades ago, and a couple sought her out and helped.

But they never told her their names. "All I remember them by is Mr. And Mrs. Santa," she said. It was an act of goodwill in the spirit of Christmas, and all these years later, helping hands from a Christmas past drive Mary and her neice, Bobbi Black, to pay it forward."Now that we're able to give back, we want to give back to the community," said Black.

Black started Bobbi's Homestyle Catering from very little, and built it into a successful business. But each year at Christmas, the business model is different. "We have two families that we're helping today," said Black.

This year the Gonzales and Cervantes families are at the Bobbi's Homestyle Christmas table for a free meal. Both families recovering from great losses and struggles, and both families are able to spend this Christmas together, because of someone else paying their blessings forward. "They helped someone in need, and we were truly in need at that time," said Linton.

Linton has never learned the name of that couple who helped her so long ago. But she has a message for the Mr. and Mrs. Santa who inspired so much. "If they're somewhere watching I want them to know I still think about them and I appreciate everything that they did," said Linton.