Cocoa Biblical stories and gifts filled special event
Biblical characters sharing Bible stories and candy during a "Bible Walk."
Photos with Santa.
S'mores and hot cocoa.
Colorful new bicycles and other gifts.
These are what Christmas dreams are made of.
The Oklahoma City Dream Center's "Christmas in the Hood" block party drew an estimated crowd of 700 families for a festive time of holiday cheer.
Chase Parsons, the center's assistant director, said the party served as a celebration of the center's ongoing ministry to the residents living in the neighborhoods surrounding the center at 2212 SW 55.
The party included holiday food, games and bounce houses.
Special activities like the Bible Walk featured characters like Noah, Sarah, the Three Wise Men, Jesus and others, bringing their biblical stories to life in dramatic fashion.
The event culminated with the distribution of 600 Christmas gifts for children 14 and younger. Parsons said 70 new bicycles were given away to youths at the gathering.
Parsons said the Oklahoma City Dream Center's mission is to reach, rescue and restore people in need to achieve their dreams. He said the center, led by executive director Deborah Burke seeks to reconnect people who have been isolated by poverty, substance abuse, gangs, imprisonment, homelessness, abuse and neglect to God and to a community of support to meet their physical and spiritual needs.
The center's ultimate goal is to help families develop a support system that will encourage them to make positive, long-term, God-honoring changes in their lives, Parsons said.
Meanwhile, there was still a little work to be done for volunteers after the party ended.
Parsons said 200 children wrote letters to Santa at the letter-writing booth at the party. He said the gift on each formatted letter was purchased with the help of volunteers and the center's community partners and distributed to the young letter writers. Also, Parsons said 102 children who attended the party were sponsored for Christmas and expected to receive additional gifts and items in the days before Christmas.
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"It was another great year with all of the volunteer partners. We're just looking to build more and more next year," he said.
For more information about the center, go to www.dcokc.org.