Because of you, Christmas came early for more than 200 inner-city families.
On December 15, the St. Louis Dream Center church, and outreach of Joyce Meyer Ministries, held its first annual Christmas Store event. The sanctuary was transformed into a makeshift toy store, allowing neighborhood parents to pick out games 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 Lashonna...
“I have 7 kids, and without these events, sometimes my kids wouldn’t have anything,” Lashonna said, pushing her cart up and down the aisles. “I have been homeless before. Even though I work hard, and we have a place to live now, sometimes it just couldn’t happen without the community.”
The St. Louis Dream Center preregistered most of the families using their unique partnerships with five area schools where they frequently hold assemblies and after-school programs. It’s just one more way for them to strengthen their relationships within the neighborhood.
“The heart behind today’s outreach is to add dignity back to the parents,” Senior Pastor Tony Gilmore said. “We wanted to make the parents the hero in the story—for the children to receive gifts from their parents rather than directly from us.”
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 a photo with Santa.
“This means everything to us,” Janisha, a local resident, said. “Sometimes families don’t have it around Christmastime, and we know that people like you care about us. You are helping us when we don’t have the funds to help ourselves. I thank you so much.”
As volunteers finished wrapping Janisha’s gifts, they placed them in holiday bags and sent her off with her arms full. Thanks to you, they will have a great Christmas…and experience the love of Christ in a personal way.
“It’s the generosity of Joyce Meyer Ministries partners that makes events like this happen,” said Pastor Gilmore. “It’s simply another way to share Christ and love people.”