This was a big weekend for Living Hope Church. We held our first annual Back-to-School Big Give on Sunday. We wanted to plan an event that was all about serving our community, so we planned this event where we would give away new backpacks full of school supplies, free back-to-school haircuts, free food, free photos/fingerprinting for the kids, and lots of other fun things (inflatable games, facepainting, cartoons on the big screen, great door prizes, etc...). This being our first year, we really had no idea what to expect. We guessed and planned to give away around 220 backpacks.
Confession time: Everyone around me was really optimistic about this event - except me. I had this nagging fear that we would pour all this work into it and 3 people would show up. After all, we didn't have a big budget for it, we don't have a church building so many Dixon-ites don't even know we exist. The only real advertising we did for it was putting up flyers around town the week before, 1 ad in the Friday newspaper, and Dixon Family Services helped us mail out flyers to a few hundred families that they had in their case files. I started to feel bad that everyone around me was optimistic except me, so I just committed it to prayer.
The Big Give was Sunday from 3-5pm and when we opened the doors (of the elementary school where we meet) to let people in there were already 100 people standing in line. Our best estimate is that about 500 people showed up and had a great time. When all is said and done, we will have given away almost 300 backpacks. The room was packed with people and I believe they were really having fun as a family.
At least 75% of the people there were Hispanic. Dixon's population is around 35% Hispanic, so we printed all of our flyers in Spanish and English. At the event we had translators on hand to help out and it was really beautiful - a true multi-cultural outreach - a mini-mission trip for our church.
I couldn't be prouder of LHC! I still believe God has God-sized things in store for us!