Bronzeville church holds annual Christmas meal, present giveaway to people in need

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Bronzeville's Apostolic Faith Church handed out bagfuls of toys to children who may not otherwise have a Christmas, an annual tradition.

"Sometimes it's needed," said Kaneisha Hearvay. "Some families don't... this is for everybody. I'm glad the church did it, 'cause it made my babies happy."

The toys are just a small part of the celebration put on by the church, which brings in hundreds of people from across the community, including several shelters. Meals are served to the guests, just a small way of making folks feel cared for and part of something bigger.

"It's the togetherness," Agwe Lwa said. "It helps us all to enjoy the environment. Everybody is very happy and hospitable."

Once their stomachs are full and the toys are collected, those in need make one more stop: the coat room, so no one goes cold this winter season.

"We know that everybody needs help to get to another level in life," said Jonathan Banks, Apostolic Faith Church. "It's our opportunity to show care, to show love, and to help them especially during the holidays."

Three hundred and fifty volunteers gave out 500 winter coats and 3,000 toys to children, teens and their parents.

"It's magical. It's beautiful," said Rosemary Jarrett, volunteer. "Just being in the midst of all the people. I do it every year, and after I go home and I spend Christmas with my family."
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