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COPPERAS COVE — Bountiful New Life Church of God in Christ held its first toy distribution Sunday, following a Christmas play put on by the congregation to celebrate the true meaning behind the holiday season.
The church surpassed its goal of collecting 100 toys for local children, said Ramona Featherston, church hospitality chaplain.
More than 20 local children received a new toy on-site Sunday.
The distribution was spearheaded by Elaine Thompson, a church member who was inspired to organize the giveaway after meditating on Bible verse James 1:27.
“It tells us that a true church takes care of orphans and widows,” she said. “This is what this ministry is all about.”
The children were overjoyed to receive new toys a few days before Christmas. “It’s such a blessing to see the smiles on their faces,” Thompson said.
The play, “God’s Gift to Humanity,” featured about 10 church participants, along with the youth choir, depicting three different scenes
— the angel Gabriel visiting Mary, Mary expressing joy upon learning of her pregnancy, and Joseph and Mary settling into the inn for the birth of baby Jesus.
Once each child at the church received a gift, the additional toys were distributed to the community. Church members left in groups to bring new toys to unsuspecting children in the surrounding neighborhood.
“(The distribution) was great,” said Brother Quinney. “The kids really get into the children’s ministry.”
The church has grown significantly since celebrating its second year in September, he said.
In November, the 40-person congregation fed more than 25 community members a free Thanksgiving meal.
“Jesus is the real reason for the season,” said youth coordinator Sharee Anderson, “and giving is part of that. We want to let the community know that we’re here.”