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2003 Toys For Joy Christmas Outreach
By Nick Turrietta

A Successful Sixth Year

25 bikes were given out at this year outreach
25 bikes were given out at this year outreach

On Friday, December 12, the sixth annual Miles Ahead Toys For Joy Outreach was held at Iglesia Evangelica Bethel in National City. The outreach was a huge success.

Approximately 2500 toys, including twenty-five brand new bicycles, and 1000 bags of food were given out to underprivileged inner-city families.

Along with these gifts, pastors of the eight participating churches offered God's greatest gift, salvation through Jesus Christ.

What was it Like?

Families began lining up as early as 4 PM. For some families unable to afford buying gifts, these would be the only ones their children will receive.

To entertain those waiting in line, a mini stage was set up nearby with different musical teams performing popular Christmas carols and worship songs. Mimes and dancers rounded out the night's entertainment. Donuts were handed out to help pass the time.

Praying together after the altar call
Praying together after the altar call

At 5 PM, the first two hundred people entered the sanctuary for the mini-Christmas service and to hear the Gospel message. An altar call was given and bibles were passed out to those in need.

After the altar call, ushers helped direct traffic to the toy distribution room where every child was able to choose one of the many donated toys. Some of the most popular toys this year included skateboards, toy trucks, dolls, and stuffed animals. The wisdom in planning was apparent as toys were organized by both gender and age.

Each family was then given a bag of food and tickets to spend in the gated carnival area, which included the main stage, tables for relaxing, astro-jumps for the kids, and meal stands where tickets could be traded for hot dogs, hamburgers, drinks, nachos, and cotton candy.

This was repeated over and over again for a total exceeding 1800 people.

A Collective Effort

Many groups came together this year to help make the event successful. It was a complete team effort.

Churches Involved

Eight churches, including the Rock, took part in this year's event.

Clint Schmucker, Associate Pastor at the Rock, noted, "I think it's incredible to see the family of God come together and embrace those in need with the love of Christ."

Christian Worship Center was also instrumental in their first year participating.

Paul Marshek, Worship Pastor at Christian Worship Center, exclaimed, "We are overwhelmed at the opportunity God presented to us to work with other churches to reap the harvest in San Diego."

Musical/Arts Performances

Everybody stayed around for good food, fellowship, and music
Everybody stayed around for good food, fellowship, and music

Many talented groups performed this year including: Soulwater, Steps of Praise, Likeminded, Mercy Flood, the drama team from Rock Church, and the mimes from San Diego Youth in Action. In their own ways, each team portrayed the giftedness and diversity of God's creations.


Toys For Joy could not have happened without the great amount of volunteer work. Many thankless hours behind the scenes and from the 300+ volunteers at the event helped make the event a success.

Help was needed and gladly filled in every area including: security, prayer, production, altar call, ushering, concessions, and toy distribution.

Among those helping on the Prayer team, Cari Blanchard of the Rock proclaimed, "We're praying for everybody to get saved." An excellent reminder to the real purpose of Toys For Joy.

Donors and Thank Yous

Everybody who participated deserves a huge thanks.

Please thank our most generous donors by supporting their respective businesses.

They are:

  • Terrell Fletcher - served as Honorary Chairman and purchased 800 Rally burgers
  • Iglesia Evangelica Bethel - second year hosting the event, also donated 200 toys
  • Wild West Kettle Corn - the best kettle corn around
  • Warren Thompson and his family - 12 new bicycles
  • Pat Patton's men's small group - 60 dozen donuts