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Toys for Joy Celebration 2016
By Vittoria Allen

Toys for Joy | Lincoln High School

“It’s Merry Christmas Day!” shouted 7-year-old Gilbert.

It wasn’t quite December 25, but for Gilbert and thousands of other children, it may as well have been.  It was Saturday, December 10, 2016, the day of the 20th annual Toys for Joy sponsored by Rock Church.

Senior Pastor Miles McPherson began Toys for Joy in 1996, and the humble outreach that started 20 years ago has exploded into four sites countywide: Lincoln High School, El Cajon Valley High School, San Marcos High School and Southwest High School. 

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Toys for Joy | El Cajon Valley High School

“Papa, can I open my toy now?” exclaimed 9-year-old Kailey as she ran back from playing with the animals at the petting zoo.

The 20th annual Toys For Joy event on Saturday, December 10, transformed El Cajon Valley High School’s gym into a massive toy room. Over 5,200 people attended the event at the Rock Church East County site. The school’s track turned into a venue for fun with bounce houses, a petting zoo, manicures, haircuts, games, and more! Each child received a toy of their choice; 5,824 toys were distributed throughout the day. Those attending were treated to lunch and 2,500 bags of groceries were distributed to families.    

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Toys for Joy | San Marcos High School

4,111 people gathered early on Saturday morning, bundled in their blankets to keep themselves cozy in the cloudy, 59-degree weather. It wasn’t for Black Friday, and it wasn’t for the new iPhone. Families lined the campus of San Marcos High School to wait in line to provide a toy for their children.

In its 20th year, the Toys for Joy event, sponsored by Rock Church, has taken over four locations across San Diego. This year, Rock Church San Marcos was celebrating their third year of Toys for Joy and they were ready for their best year yet. Just one month ago, Rock Church San Marcos relocated to a building across the street from San Marcos High School and they wasted no time reaching out to the community.

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Toys for Joy | Southwest High School

At Southwest High School, the Rock Church’s 20th annual Toys for Joy event brought smiles, but it also brought much more – it brought families together.  The yearly event provides groceries, clothing, entertainment and a free toy for each child in attendance.

Ricardo Rodriguez and Carla Castro came to Toys For Joy because their kids received a flyer from Mendoza Elementary, where they attend school. Ricardo was happily surprised to see his other sons, whom he had not seen in 7 months.  His large family of 15 was thankful to get toys, haircuts, lunch and groceries.

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