WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The gift of giving. For one Watertown church, it’s a holiday mission going on five years. That mission is still going strong.
One of the many special things about the holiday season is getting gifts for your loved ones. The New Life Christian Church in Watertown wants to make sure everyone has the opportunity to do that.
This is their fifth annual Christmas giveaway. Thousands of gifts are up for up for grabs for those who can't afford them.
“Every item is donated by members of the church. People went out and bought brand new items and donated them. People gave money. We bought truckloads of brand new stuff to give away,” said Kirk Gilchrist, senior pastor at New Life Christian Church.
The line wrapped through the church Saturday and even out the door.
“It's worth it because you get to provide a happy Christmas for everybody and you get to see happy faces when people walk out with expensive items that you can't really get everywhere else,” said Ahmed Gbakamara, who waited in line for the giveaway.
Lisa McClain waited in line overnight Saturday. She says without this giveaway, her family wouldn’t have a Christmas.
“I'm on social security, so I don't make a lot and after bills and paying the rent, I don't have it to give to my family. So, this is really nice where I can get nice items and I can give them to my friends and family,” said McClain.
There were 90 “big ticket” items up for grabs. Things like furniture, appliances and bicycles.
One woman selected a recliner for her friend in need and had a big reaction.
“She just gave me a big hug and cried on my shoulder. I gave her a big hug back and said this is what it's all about,” said Jim Webb, a volunteer at New Life.
“I think it’s what the church should be doing. We should be reaching our community. If every church and every individual did their part, we could alter and change our community,” said Gilchrist.
More than 700 people walked away with their shopping bags stuffed Saturday.
Now, ready to surprise their loved ones this Christmas.