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Over 2,500 families receive toys, groceries at California's Rock Church Toys for Joy donation event

The Rock Church Toys for Joy Christmas Donation Event
Over two thousand families were given toys and groceries at California church Toys for Joy donation event on Dec. 11 2021. |

Loud cheering amid encouraging words of prayer and a Gospel message could be heard as over 2,500 families and children received donated toys and boxes filled with groceries this holiday season during a California church's drive-thru distribution event, Toys for Joy.

To provide aid to families in need this Christmas, Rock Church in San Diego partnered with 1,091 community members, 30 agencies, and 55 schools across San Diego County for the Toys for Joy initiative, which served 2,857 families who needed financial help or food assistance on Dec. 11. 

As families in need drove by to collect the items, many of the Christian volunteers at the event took the opportunity to not only pray with them but also share the Gospel. 

"I really try to teach that this is the time of forgiveness. This is the time to heal wounds,” said Tarlease Jones, a volunteer who has devoted time to helping with the initiative for the past 10 years. “This is the time to make amends. This is our time to tell our God thank you and be thankful for the things that we do have.”
 
For Jones, the Toys for Joy donation event was once something she relied on to support her two children in 2010. And ever since that year when she sought assistance for her family, she said she has become passionate about giving back to the community as a volunteer.

Looking back on the past decade of her volunteer efforts, Jones said she has been able to give thanks to God for all the years she has served in a capacity that involved sharing and spreading the Gospel to those who are in need.   
 
“Paul the Apostle teaches us about that contentment in all circumstances and situations [and] there are thousands of families who can’t afford to get a gift; not for themselves, not for their children, not for their family members, their coworkers, or their grocery store clerk,” Jones continued. 
 
“And so instead of us falling into humanity’s nature of feeling like a failure of feeling less than, it’s a great moment to tell God thank you and really look at what He has for you, being able to have a sense of connection with people and always connecting back to Him,” she added. 
 
Another volunteer at the drive-thru event, Geniese Ligon, recalled a time in her past when she encouraged someone else to seek assistance from a past Toys for Joy. Ligon said she recalls inviting a single mother with three children who was a congregant at Rock Church to the initiative because the mother was on the verge of becoming homeless.   
 
“Fast forward, she came through the lines at Toys for Joy after I encouraged her to come [and] she came through for two or three years. And then in the fourth year, she and her older daughter volunteered,” recounted Ligon about the woman’s story. 
 
Ligon also recalled that the mother of three later told her: “‘I'm just picking up trash, but I felt like it was a metaphor for me. When I was trash, God saw me, and He picked me up. And so now I want to encourage somebody else.’” 
 
“She is Christian now, she’s serving God, she understood who she was. She started off as a recipient and became so much more than that,” Ligon said, further detailing the mother’s story.
 
The Rock Church will host The Rock Family Christmas Special on Dec. 24 at 10 a.m. PST (Online) and 4 p.m. at their in-person campuses. Visit here for more information. 

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