Christmas Celebration - Love in Action Outreach Ministries

Local nonprofit helps needy families with food, clothes and Christmas gifts - Report from Gwinnett Daily Post

LILBURN — Patricia Dunn’s Christmas was looking bleak. The possibility of presents for her children? Bleak.

Then she called Miss Bobi.

“I didn’t know what we would do for Christmas,” Dunn said Tuesday. “It’s been a blessing.”Ch

The blessing was the seventh annual “Christmas Celebration” from Love in Action Outreach Ministries, a local nonprofit led by the aforementioned Miss Bobi (Bobi Jean Pack, formally). On Tuesday at Lilburn’s Berkmar United Methodist Church, Love in Action offered food, clothing, shoes and children’s Christmas presents to about 70 in-need families.

Pack has put the event together since 2007, despite having very limited funds to work with.

Christmas celebration-1
Christmas celebration-1
Vanessa Patino, center, helps her sons Jayden, 7, Damien, 10, and Kevin 5, make nachos with chips, salsa, and cheese provided by Love in Actions ministries during a Christmas celebration on Tuesday at the Berkmar United Methodist Church in Lilburn.
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Christmas celebration-2
Latrice Spencer, from Lithonia, carries toys to the car after attending a Christmas celebration hosted by Love in Action ministries on Tuesday at the Berkmar United Methodist Church in Lilburn.
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Christmas celebration-3
Ryan Footman carries the toys that he chose for his Christmas presents as his mother, Sallie, looks for other presents during a Christmas celebration hosted by Love in Action ministries on Tuesday at the Berkmar United Methodist Church in Lilburn.
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Christmas celebration-4
Nathan Cohall holds his two-month-old son, Gabriel, during a service held by Love in Action ministries on Tuesday at the Berkmar United Methodist Church in Lilburn. The ministry held its annual Christmas celebration at the church where families in need were provided food, toys for children, shoes for parents, and an encouraging word for the holidays.
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Christmas celebration-5
A general view of the chapel during a service held by Love in Action ministries on Tuesday at the Berkmar United Methodist Church in Lilburn. The ministry held its annual Christmas celebration at the church where families in need were provided food, toys for children, shoes for parents, and an encouraging word for the holidays.
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Christmas celebration-6
Harmony and Serenity Cohall sits on a bench with toys they picked for presents during a Christmas celebration hosted by Love in Action ministries on Tuesday at the Berkmar United Methodist Church in Lilburn.
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Christmas celebration-7
Celebration.” Matthew Harper, 8, creates nachos with chips and cheese provided by Love in Actions ministries during a Christmas celebration on Tuesday at the Berkmar United Methodist Church in Lilburn.
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Christmas celebration-8
Children create nachos with chips, salsa, and cheese provided by Love in Actions ministries during a Christmas celebration on Tuesday at the Berkmar United Methodist Church in Lilburn.
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Christmas celebration-9
Families stand in line for food provided by Love in Actions ministries during a Christmas celebration on Tuesday at the Berkmar United Methodist Church in Lilburn.
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Christmas celebration-10
Shoes provided by The Foot Traveler sit in a room ready to be given to parents during a Christmas celebration hosted by Love in Action ministries on Tuesday at the Berkmar United Methodist Church in Lilburn.
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Christmas celebration-11
Augustine Perez, 12, looks through an abundance of toys for two Christmas presents during a Christmas celebration hosted by Love in Action ministries on Tuesday at the Berkmar United Methodist Church in Lilburn.
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Christmas celebration-12
Ryan Footman, left, and his brother, Roman, compare the toys that they chose for Christmas presents during a Christmas celebration hosted by Love in Action ministries on Tuesday at the Berkmar United Methodist Church in Lilburn.

“God spoke to my heart to do this,” Pack said. “And ever since, even though I’m not funded, everything always comes together. Miraculously. God has given me favor.”

The majority of the families served Tuesday were pointed to Pack by the United Way. In an “open mic” session before the festivities began, several told their stories.

One woman was struggling to support her children after her husband was deported. Another simply thanked God for allowing her to wake up for another day.

Later, a woman said she had been sleeping at bus stops with her seven kids.

All of them were helped Tuesday thanks to donations from a number of places, including Toys for Tots, LifeWay, Honeybaked Ham and Publix.

A Buford store called The Foot Traveler donated shoes.

“It’s all about giving,” general manager Michael Gravitte said. During Tuesday’s event, Dunn was able to get gifts for her three kids, stashing them in a box to try and hide the contents until Christmas day. After a “rocky year” where Dunn hadn’t been able to find a job and relied on assistance from family, her children will have a Christmas.

“One of the most beautiful things in the world,” Pack said, “is to be able to give back.”

For more information on Love in Action Outreach Ministry, visit houseofjoynorcross.org.

See the article in Gwinnett Daily Post.

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