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Congregants give back with community toy drive

carpenter 1Children clasp their packages tightly as they get ready to open the Christmas presents from Carpenter’ Center.

The Carpenter's Center in Boyle put smiles on the faces of about 100 children during its first toy drive Tuesday.

Pastor Johnathan Brown and his wife Ashley Brown both wanted to do something to give back to their community.

The Carpenter's Center opened in April of 2016 and since then the congregation has done much for the community but this Christmas they wanted to do something extra special.

"Holidays are a time and especially Christmas where we just like to promote Christ and what Jesus represented which was serving. It's just all about giving to others, blessing the community, and being about the community, that's what our church is about," said Brown.

Over 100 gifts, six brand new bikes, and two scooters were donated to the Carpenter's Center toy drive.

"Our members are faithful tithers and givers, and so all of gifts came through our members giving and donating. Our entire congregation came together to purchase 120 gifts," Ashley said.

The toy drive was for children, ages three to 11.

"The toy drive is really just something we had the heart to do. We're really just taking the time out to take the funds we were blessed with to just give back to the families in need," Brown said.

Cars were lined up outside of the church hours before the program began, and many of the children entered the church filled with excitement.

Many members of the church helped wrapped the gifts days before the toy drive.

Brown said, "We're just grateful that God has blessed us to be able to let us reach people and that we can do things like this year round, and it's not just about me, it's about the people who have the heart to serve, so I'm grateful for the church."

As the children entered the church, they were give raffle tickets with numbers for a chance to win their bikes.

Three boys and three girls won bikes given to them by the Carpenter's Center.

Brown said, "We think bikes are significant because kids can really use bikes to go on their own adventures. I remember when how just a simple bike helped me stay out of trouble when I was little."

Brown said many of the bikes are a way to get the children to be active.

"We veered away from video games and tablets this year. We are all about being more healthful and active instead of just sitting around at home," Brown said.

Ashley said being able to help people is what the holidays are all about. 

Ashley said, "We're just super excited. This is kind of the basis of our ministry, just being able to give and help people."

Church member Equonda Jackson of Cleveland said, "We just wanted to do something for the community, that's what our church is all about. God is so good to all of us."

Jackson said this is Carpenter's Center first Christmas event and everyone was nervous but excited at the same time.

"We believe in just giving. Sowing seeds of love, and sometimes love is illustrated in different ways through giving gifts, your money, through giving your time. This is just an illustration of giving our love to our community," Ashley said.

Pastor Brown said, "We're just grateful that God has blessed up to be able to let us reach people and that we can do things like this year round, and it's not just about me, it's about the people who have the heart to serve, so I'm grateful for the church."

Brown said, "At the Carpenter Center, we like to have the heart of a carpenter which is to help build and to restore those who are in need, so that's what our vision, our goal, our mission here in the church." 

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