Zion Hill Christian Fellowship hosted a toy giveaway on Saturday, providing Christmas cheer and toys to nearly 300 children.

Bishop Darren Sophus said that while the giveaway is a yearly tradition, the church was forced to postpone the event in recent years because of the coronoavirus pandemic.

“It’s always a wonderful thing,” Sophus said. “We’ve been doing it for years now, we just haven’t done it in recent years with COVID. We were doing something in-house and the Cool Scene approached us so we decided to make it big enough to reach the whole community. It’s always a joy to see somebody happy, to give a kid or an adult a smile by giving gifts.”

Sophus said that the first event back from the hiatus brought on by COVID-19 was the largest the church has ever had.

“That’s the thing, everybody has been cooped up and stressed out,” he said. “We tried to do it so we could provide a little joy and remember how to give as Christ came and gave his life. We wanted to do our part as a church, along with our partners who contributed. We’ve done this for many years but it was never at this magnitude.”

Zion Hill partnered with many local businesses in the community, and Sophus made sure to thank everyone.

“We are thankful to Haik, Minville, Grubbs, and D’Albor, Cool Scene, Angels Among Angels 1&2, Barczyk Spine and Joint, State Rep. Marcus A. Bryant, City Councilman Marlo Lewis, and so many other organizations,” Sophus said. “We even had volunteers from Beliver’s Family Worship Center and donors, workers, and volunteers from the community.”

Artesha Vallot, Youth Director at Zion Hill, said the community support was fantastic, with all the recipients showing their appreciation for the gifts.

“It was a great success,” Vallot said. “We were able to serve over 200 kids. Seeing the kids’ expressions when they came up to receive the toys, you could tell that they really enjoyed the event and really appreciated the toys they were given.”

Zion Hill hopes to continue their toy giveaway tradition next year

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