The Holiday Season is a time when the whole world stops, if even for a moment. It’s a beautiful moment. When the Spirit of God fills the air and everywhere open doors and open hearts make room for Hope. At Rock City Church and The Columbus Dream Center this is especially true. We love the opportunity Christmas gives us to serve the city that we love so much. Throughout the year, at the Dream Center, we strive to create a family-like atmosphere through our many programs and outreaches. We serve meals most nights of the week, offer shower and laundry services, medical care, after-school programs. We do weekly outreach through Adopt-A-Block and Street Outreach. And we love it all but at Thanksgiving and Christmas our motto is Go-Big and Come Home!
Since launching The Columbus Dream Center, we have come to realize that there are thousands in our city that do not have biological family with whom to celebrate the holidays. For many, the Dream Center is the only constant in their lives throughout the year. So we do everything we can to make sure they are LOVED LIKE FAMILY around the holidays.
Each year we learn more and more about the needs of our city but here are a few things we do to share hope, meet needs and provide opportunities for hundreds of volunteers to serve:
Thanksgiving Baskets are for our Adopt-A-Block families. With these prep-baskets, families in our community get to prepare a delicious meal in their homes on Thanksgiving Day. We do pre-registration and create “prep” events for volunteers leading up to the day. This year we are hosting a big Thanksgiving Prep Night for volunteers to come and add “extra touches” (personalized cards, hygiene goody bags, special basket wrapping, etc.).
THANKSGIVING DAY DINNER
On Thanksgiving Day, we get to serve on-site at the Dream Center and at a transitional housing facility. Thousands of families and individuals from all across our city enjoy a home-cooked, traditional Thanksgiving Dinner with all the fixings. We get to partner with many local churches, business, and organizations to make this happen. People generously drop-off the hot, cooked food on Thanksgiving morning at our facility and for many, volunteering at the Dream Center on Thanksgiving has become a family-tradition.
DREAM CENTER CHRISTMAS PARTY
Our Annual Christmas Party is an unforgettable evening for 120 of our most consistent guests who come to our In-House Programming throughout the year. Guests enjoy an evening with a delicious meal, entertainment, and will also receive a special present just for them (big gift bags with NEW sweatshirts, socks, gloves, scarf, hats).
CHRISTMAS BLOCK PARTY
A highlight for families involved in our children’s programs is our Christmas Block Party. This party is hosted at the Dream Center and features Christmas music, good food, resources, activities and, of course, Santa! We love any reason to gather the community together and celebrate. This block party provides an opportunity for everyone to stay warm and create Christmas memories together.
CHRISTMAS CHEER KITS
Christmas Cheer Kits are given to Dream Center families to help them prepare and decorate for the holidays. This idea began when we noticed that the neighborhoods around the Dream Center had little to no Christmas decorations. On a special night in early December a team sets out on a Christmas caroling, Christmas-kit and cookie delivering mission. Afterward, we love hearing the Dream Center kids tell stories of their families decorating and creating memories together with the kits they’ve been given.
CHRISTMAS SHOE GIVE
Every year our church partners with local elementary schools for our annual Rock City Christmas Shoe Give. This is one of our favorite events of the year because it involves hundreds of volunteers. Through our partnerships with local elementary schools in areas of our city with the greatest need, we host Christmas parties where students get their feet measured and unwrap a brand-new pair of name brand shoes. This year, 3,000 students will receive shoes through our Shoe Give and trust us, there is nothing quite like the face of a child with a brand new pair of shoes!
Our holiday events are ultimately all about sharing the LOVE and HOPE of Jesus. We get to do this first in practical ways through gifts, meals and family fun, but during every event we get to engage people of all ages with the hope of the gospel. What an honor and gift it is to serve our city!
by Abi Marrah