Interview with Pastor Lee Williams (Senior pastor Searchlight Church Fellowship and IMA) in regards to toy drive revealed the following details of the day. The actual name of the toy drive? "Agape non-profit Corp., meaning Universal and holistic love. Agape Second Chance. The corporation Embraces the thought that everyone deserves a second, third, fourth chance is the Mantra of the organization, particularly in this economically and sociologically depressed area. It's just a great place to do this kind of work for the citizens. Spencer-Holland area."
How long has his program been in existence? Rather, how long has the toy drive been in existence? "3 years during my tenure. This is the third toy drive that I've participated in."
Does the Agape program also have other endeavors outside of the holiday season? "Yes, they have after-school tutoring they have computer literacy and training. They also have social, economic and financial development programs for the residents. Parenting things. We do a lot of Partnerships with LMHA and Children Services office. We try to minister to the whole person mind body and spirit. It's just a great vehicle. We're probably looking into - at one time or another - doing some community development or reinvestment in this depressed area. And that's some of our future endeavors that we're going to look at.
How many children do you estimate - or you may even know the exact number of children that were served today? "I believe it was somewhere between 80 and 100 children. Some of them were so small you could count them two or three times. this year we had more people here, more need here can we were quickly out of toys This year where last year we were able to give extra toys because we didn't have quite as much as a turnout. so apparently the media and communication this year has been better because even the table I was at with boys toys oh, I was out in 15 or 20 minutes. we have four to five tables full of toys broken down by age groups, boys and girls. one table had technical and scientific toys. Another table had Sports and games, football and basketball. the kids had their pick of what they were most passionate about."
What was the qualification process for the toy drive? Were there forms that needed to be filled out? Proof of income required? "None of that. We asked the parents in particular to complete a two-page survey basically on the needs and things they would like us to provide to them. We had the parents do that prior to the kids seeking the toys. once they completed the survey the kids went around with the parents to select toys that they wanted.
Where are the toys from? From where were they derived? From volunteers or did the Agape program purchase the toys or were they donated? the toys were purchased. Each of the board members gave a liberal amount. Second Baptist Church, Pastor Boose gave and of course Agape itself. we raised in excess of about $1,600 and some of our volunteers just went shopping primarily at Walmart and just selected the different gifts over a period of time. We may have gotten some donations from Doni Miller's Health Association (NHA) as we have a partnership with them.
Santa Dave (Dave Sieja) and Mrs. Clause were on hand to greet children. Santa had a glove that lit up when he touched your hand if you had been nice and not naughty! A treat for the children in attendance it was. Refreshments were served. God bless you Agape for a terrific event for the children!