Hispanic Congregation Casa de Oración Peoples Church has held a special occasion for Latino families by giving 200 new bikes to local children in Salem, OR, Sunday.
Kristen Castro, the pastor’s wife, went shopping at Walmart on Black Friday and “hogged” all the children’s bikes.
According to Kristen, she wasn’t a regular shopper but she did it for a good cause. Both she and her husband, Pastor Julio Cesar Castro serve in the Spanish-language congregation, which has a focus on outreach.
Pastor Julio Cesar has told The Christian Post that the idea came after he and his wife saw the difficult financial situation of the local Hispanic community.
“The need arose in the Hispanic community; many parents are unemployed and have difficulties in giving their children a Christmas present,” the pastor said to CP.
The pastor’s goal was to “find the need of the community and fill it.”
He explained that the action is related to the example of Christ to provide for families in need and “present the plan of salvation.”
The congregation helped by raising about $10,000 to pay for the bikes as well as more than 300 other presents. The bike giveaway was announced through Facebook, friends and family and the newspaper.
Many families started lining up in front of the church at 6 a.m. About 800 people packed the auditorium of the church, filling the seats, lining the walls and flowing over into the lobby, according to Castro.
Through the event, he hopes that families will know that there is a Spanish-speaking church, which is available to serve them in the different ways, whether physically, morally or spiritually.
Karla Soto, a church volunteer, said that many people didn’t know about the existence of the Spanish-language congregation.
“It’s a good way to let them know we’re here,” said Soto, according to StatesJournal.com.
Teresa Moreida found out about the church through her sister, Perla Milian, who is a member of the congregation. Moreida went to the line at 8 a.m. together with her daughters.
Pastor Julio and Kristen, who said they are “big dreamers,” promise to give “500 bikes for 500 smiles” in the community next year and urge believers not to lose hope.
“Do not lose hope in getting what you want, because there are always people that God sends from near and far, to make your dreams come true. God is never late or early, but He arrives at just the right time.”