Friday, December 23, 2011

Smile. Eat. Receive - Impacting Families at Christmas Time

I just wanted to Thank everyone who was a part of Smile. Eat. Receive. What an amazing day.

Here is a few number's for you:

  • We took 287 family portraits.Each family received an 8 by 10 portrait and 5, 4 by 6's
  • Hundreds of people walked through the photo studio on Saturday.
  • Hair stylists and make up artist's helped transform people who were not ready to photographed 
  • We served 250 dinners
  • Over $10,000 dollars in gifts (1000 gifts to be exact) were give away to the children of the families
  • 100 door prizes during the dinner. 
  • Close to 100 amazing volunteers serving
  • The Hope store served over 300 clients and gave extra Christmas gifts away to each of them
  • We bused in 30 families from Taft homes that we work with every week at Metro Kids, to a special Portraits/ Christmas party/ Dinner

The stories were amazing.

One homeless gentleman(in this picture below) had not had his picture taken since 1979. He was a character that I loved having at the Dream Center.

We were shooting video all day with some amazing help from a few couples. One of the couples were Keith Brown and Tiffany Alexandria from Forward // Motion Productions. They were capturing the stories from people. They came to me at one point nearly in tears as they were hearing how people felt about the experience. The words "I feel beautiful and Thank you"  kept being mentioned to them.

We will have a video shortly of the event to show soon. 

I sat with an older African American grandfather who was there on his own. He said to me "So what else do you do at The Dream Center?" I shared with him real quick about all the kids and youth programs we did. He turned to me and said "I want to be an advocate for you guys, how can I help this younger generation?"


One of my favorite families that I personally work with are a hispanic family who come to our indoor soccer program. The WHOLE family plays with us, including the mom. I told them about it on the Thursday night at soccer and they all showed up for  pictures.....In their Soccer uniforms! They loved it! The smiles and appreciation were massive! They couldn't remember the last time they had had a family picture taken.  

But we are not finished yet, Robbie Criss and Kim Goodman (two of our youth outreach workers) delivered portraits to the families this week along with a children's bible story book ($50 value) that was giving to every family from Taft homes that were a part of the event, compliments of Hoerr's Berean Bookstore

In addition they will be giving away a 15lb ham compliments of Family Video. In the end it looks like a very successful weekend. 

Here is a  blog post from one of our 15 photographers. Many of them came to me and Jeff after they were done and were in tears. They have never been a part of something like this and want to be a part of it again. I believe we planted a seed in most of them. To show them what the Church is actually about.....GIVING!
Ricardo's Blog 

Thanks again to all who made this day possible. Starbucks, Peoria Color, Walgreens, Panera, Jimmy Johns are just a few companies that really stepped up to the plate at this event.

As I look back on the event, the day felt like the early days of BackPack Peoria. Who knows what will happen in the future at Smile. Eat. Receive 

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