Because of you, Christmas came early for more than 100 inner-city families…
On December 15, the St. Louis Dream Center church, an outreach of Joyce Meyer Ministries, held its annual Christmas Store event. The sanctuary was transformed into a makeshift toy store, allowing neighborhood parents to pick out games, toys and other presents for their children.
Christmastime can be particularly stressful for low-income families, and outreaches like this one often make the difference for parents simply trying to make ends meet—parents like Michelle McWhortor...
“We just became homeless,” Michelle said. “We lost everything and we’re staying with a friend. I just signed my kids up for school yesterday and they told us about the Dream Center.”
Michelle said she was unable to afford clothes for her children, much less Christmas gifts. Through tears, she showed off the new toys she picked out—a remote-control car for her eight-year-old son and a baby doll for her six-year-old daughter.
“It’s emotional, it really is,” Michelle said. “I’m very happy and blessed. They now have something for Christmas.”
The St. Louis Dream Center pre-registered most of the families using their unique partnerships with five area schools whose students attend the church’s after-school program. It’s just one more way for them to strengthen their relationships within the neighborhood, and it provides new opportunities to share the Gospel with the kids and their families.
Harry and Melva Presberry heard about the Christmas Store from their eight-year-old daughter Mariah. She attends the Dream Center’s after-school program for tutoring with her school work and to receive nutritious meals to supplement what her parents can provide at home.
“Mariah goes to Hickey Elementary School and then comes here every day and she loves it,” Harry said. “Now she likes to read more and she likes to do math. We like her to come so she can get her education and she can learn about God.”
As a team of volunteers wrapped gifts for their five children, Harry and Melva filled out the name cards and were once again overwhelmed by the love and generosity.
“This Christmas outreach means everything,” Harry said. “The Dream Center isn’t just a church. They help the community and they truly help the kids.”
While the parents shopped, their children went next door to enjoy holiday games, music and a special breakfast. They even got a chance to take photos with Santa.
As volunteers finished wrapping gifts for the Presberry family, they placed them in gift bags and sent them off with full arms. Thanks to you, they will have a great Christmas…and experience the love of Christ in a personal way.
“Partners of Joyce Meyer Ministries, this does not happen without you,” Senior Pastor Tony Gilmore said. “We are so grateful for your support, and even though you may not be here geographically, you’re here in spirit through your generosity and you’re making a huge difference in north St. Louis. God bless you!”