A little past 11 AM on December 22, people were lined up on Hoover Street in front of the Salvation Army L.A. Korea Corps. Latino American and African American parents held the hands of their sons and daughters, preparing to enter the church. The amount of people seemed to be roughly around 400 people. The Salvation Army was holding a Christmas event for low-income families.
After the first such event last year, the Salvation Army held this Christmas gift event for the second time last week. The Salvation Army once again showed its expertise and preciseness in serving the community through this event, as they conducted an application and interview process beforehand for the families who were interested in participating in the event, and prepared enough gifts according to numbers of families and children who were confirmed to attend. Though the event took place on a Monday morning and wasn’t particularly promoted, some 120 families attended as news spread through word of mouth. The sanctuary was so packed that even with extra chairs, there were people left standing, and the church didn’t have enough space for all of the people who attended.
The event started with the Word and worship, and was followed by gift-giving. Parents were able to choose up to three gifts from a toy corner that was separated and labeled by age. As they were choosing gifts, parents couldn’t hide big smiles from their faces, as though the heavy burdens from being unable to easily buy Christmas gifts for their children were being lifted. The Salvation Army also prepared lunch for the families, and gave them care packages of market vouchers and food boxes for the families to take on their way home.
Project 2nd Chance (P2C), a student-led campus organization, also participated in Monday’s event. Though the Salvation Army provides resources for P2C, the club itself is non-religious, and includes students who are not a part of the Salvation Army as well as non-religious students. P2C performed a benefit concert on Monday at the event, and gathered donations, with which P2C “adopted” five families and provided gifts for each member of those families.
“It’s been difficult financially since the number of markets that set up Salvation Army charity pots have been decreasing, but we couldn’t stop the work of helping people,” shared Joo-Chul Lee from the Salvation Army.
“Even though a lot of people have been visiting us despite that, to be honest, we’re just sorry that we couldn’t serve even more,” he added.
Though the Salvation Army L.A. Korea Corps is located in Koreatown and is a Korean church, the boundaries of their ministry reach all of the communities surrounding Koreatown as well. Hence, those who participated in the event included Latino American and African Americans, who live in the surrounding communities.