WATCH: Dan + Shay Surprise 3 Homeless Families with Starter Houses: 'Highlight of Our Year'

Hannah Chubb
·3 min read

Dan + Shay are bringing new meaning to their holiday hit "Take Me Home for Christmas."

The Grammy-winning country duo, comprised of Dan Smyers, 33, and Shay Mooney, 28, recently teamed up with Safe Haven Family Shelter, a shelter-to-housing program in Nashville, to surprise three families experiencing homelessness with starter homes.

The pair also worked in collaboration with Ashley HomeStore to ensure that the homes were fully-furnished — down to the holiday decorations! — and were waiting inside to say congratulations and share some festive cheer when the families arrived.

"It was very emotional watching these families’ reactions when they saw their homes for the first time," Smyers tells PEOPLE. "I speak for both of us when I say it was life-changing — it put everything into perspective, and made us truly appreciate all the blessings in our life that we can sometimes take for granted."

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In the YouTube video above, they describe the experience as "the highlight of our year," and thank fans for getting them to where they are today so that they have opportunities to pay it forward.

"We're grateful for all that has happened to us along the journey of our career, but nothing is more rewarding than using our platform to give back," Smyers says, noting that Safe Haven is a charity they both respect immensely and are honored to be able to work with. "The holidays are a difficult time for the less fortunate, especially as the weather turns cold, and there are so many obstacles to navigating shelter during a pandemic."

Smyers also notes that the three families they surprised were all deeply dedicated to caring for their loved ones, even in difficult times. In the video, the kids were so excited to see their new rooms, furniture and toys — and the parents were thrilled to be able to give them a place to call home.

"We never had a Christmas tree, we never had a home, and now my kids can have the perfect Christmas that I always wanted them to have," said one mother.

"I've actually accomplished the hardest thing I was battling with, which was not having a home for my daughter," another shared.

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"They were all wonderful people who had been dealt a tough hand and we are glad that we could play a small part in getting them back on their feet," Smyers said.

The "I Should Probably Go to Bed" singers went back to the shelter at the end of the day to play some holiday songs for the families and spread a little joy.

"When I returned home from our day with Safe Haven, I had a newfound appreciation for everything — even just the simple luxuries like having a roof over our heads, warm food to eat, or a mattress to sleep on," Smyers shares.

"Knowing how difficult this season must be for these families, they still had the most positive attitudes and warmest smiles," he adds. "And that was beyond inspiring."