Christmas Toy Giveaway
My friend and colleague Dorothy Sanabria shared a flyer on Instagram saying asking for toys and volunteers for a Toy giveaway event that Trinity Grace Church, Park Slope Christian Tabernacle (her church), Young Life, and City Search, were putting on together. I immediately responded and told her that I would love to volunteer. She told me all I needed to do was show up on Saturday December 13th at 9am at her church.
I showed up at 9am with my son's elf hat, ready to serve. The pastor of Trinity church, rallied everyone together and spoke about how his vision is to make everyone walking through the door feel welcomed. He didn't want the families coming in to feel like they are a charity case but to feel like they are shopping for toys for their children. In making people feel welcome, what the volunteers were in turn doing is showing Christ. Everyone was given a post and started preparing for the families to come in. Dorothy introduced me to the pastor of her church and his wife. They were both very sweet and welcoming. They were eager to meet the families and make some great memories.
At first I had volunteered to be a part of the hospitality team (ushering the families in and assisting with shopping) but then I noticed the wrapping team might need more help, so I ended up with that team. Christmas music was playing as families started trickling in at 10am. Three of us volunteers were helping this one lady wrap her gifts when she said, "I am so thankful for this. I just lost my job two months ago and I thought there would be no Christmas this year." That. Broke. My. Heart!! I know that Christmas isn't about gifts but still...knowing that you can't give your child at least one gift, would definitely make me sad.
We went from two or three people to a mass of people shopping and waiting for their gifts to be wrapped. There was not one ungrateful family there. It was great to see the pastors of both churches, one of the pastors wife, helping families shop, wrap, getting water for volunteers and asking if we needed any supplies. Poor Dorothy, who had her son with her, was the jack of all posts. At one point the line for wrapping gifts got very long and we wanted to make sure that no one was on line for very long. The pressure was on for a bit and this song came:
O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
I got so teary...It felt humbling to be able to serve in this way. I felt grateful. Before I knew it, it was 12pm and the doors were closed. We had some families who came after and they were let in to shop. Dorothy sat on the floor to wrap this elderly women's gifts and I sat down to help her. This lady was so thankful! After I was done, I hugged Dorothy and left!
What a successful day!!! There were many relieved mothers, grandmothers and other family members that day. You heard it in their voices when they would say, "this one is for________." They were happy in knowing they wouldn't have to think about where the money was coming from to be able to buy the gifts. Isn't GOD awesome! He always provides! As I walked into the sun, I was once again in awe of the Most High!