Christmas Eve 2018 Made Merry & Bright
Updated: Feb 17, 2022
In November 2018, I was approached by Frank from Loaves and Fishes, a local group that HEART partners with for special events and outreaches (I'm the guy in the second row, far right). Frank was wondering if I would be willing to work with him to serve a basic meal on Christmas Eve to underprivileged families in the Minneapolis area that he served.
I told Frank I was concerned about gathering enough volunteers to coordinate such an event given how many people would be home celebrating with their families. And, truth be told, I selfishly wanted to be home with my family as well.
So, I let Frank know that I would need to get back to him. Frank understood the situation but gently commented that he didn't want to see these people not get a meal just because it was a holiday.
I just couldn't let the words that Frank said go, so I reached out to someone else at HEART to get their thoughts about hosting this event on Christmas Eve. They, too, believed it would be challenging to gather enough volunteers to support the work that would need to be done. So, I tried with all my might to let it go, but I realized God wasn't going to let me do that!
I talked to my wife (Christy) about my concerns and she, without hesitation, said that she and our two children would help out. So, we had first four volunteers (five including Frank) without so much as asking anyone else!
I called Frank and let him know that we were on board. However, this wasn't going to be just a meal — we were going to have a bonafide Christmas Party! Complete with decorations, music, and presents!
We still needed a few people to help that evening, just to make sure things ran smoothly. So we put the event information on SignUpGenius and Facebook and prayed.
Wow. Was God working! Eighteen people committed to volunteering (on Christmas Eve!) in just two days!
We went on to bless 160 people with a complete Christmas dinner including punch, coffee, and cheese cake for dessert in a fully decked out hall — and we gave away 200 gift bags and over 150 packages of food.
Thanks to all the amazing volunteers who gave up a few hours to go and be the hands and feet of Jesus that day.
- Brian Simmons, HEART's Special Events Team Leader