harnessing the power of photography for good

Toys 4 Joy

Toys For Joy

IMG_9683How long would you wait in line to get one free toy for each of your children?

These two kids were one of the first ones into the toy room, they had waited outside in the cold all night long to be sure they would get their toys. They were there with their Mother, her two sisters and their three siblings.

Over 10,000 toys were given away!

Macys provided the 2,600 books that were given away.

Pastor Miles of The Rock Church greets one of the thousands of volunteers who worked to make the day possible.

14,000 bags of groceries were assembled and given away.

196,000 donated articles of clothing was distributed to the families that day.

80 bikes were given out to children who won the raffle drawings.

There was TV coverage of the event from ABC, FOX, NBC, SD6 and KUSI, to watch click HERE

The day was tremendously fun with entertainment on the stage included signing, dancing, puppets, acrobatics, and theater productions. There was an area with face-painting, balloon making, haircuting and a place to make gospel bracelets. The kids had a incredible time playing on the inflatable jumpers and slides. When they were hungry there was free food and drinks provided for them.

More than ten thousand people heard a clear gospel message of God’s love and forgiveness, with a large number of them wanting to become a follower of Jesus.

To see more photos from the day Click HERE

Toys for Joy

Toys for Joy began over 15 years ago by Miles McPherson and Miles Ahead Ministries.  I first started photographing at Toys for Joy, I think in 2002.  This year’s Toys for Joy is just around the corner.

The photos here were taken back in 2003 by my friend and fellow photographer Rafael Delgado.

The event is now run under the umbrella of the Rock Church.  Miles McPherson is the pastor at the Rock.

Since 2002 I have photographed almost every Toys for Joy Christmas outreach.  Every year is different and to be honest, sometimes you wonder if the folks in line are really in need…that’s when I pray and seek to tell the story of what God is doing at this great event.   In the spirit of giving and blessing others, you have to look the other way when you see a teen in line, listening to music with his $200 beats headphones connected to  his iPhone while wearing $150 Air Jordans…One of the great things about Toys for Joy back when I first got involved, was that every man, woman and child that was in line heard the Good News of Christ coming at Christmas and His death and resurrection at Easter.  That everyone might have life in Christ.  Every person heard this message and was given a chance to pray to receive Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, before heading into the toy area.

Photographers by nature are observers…we are always looking for the “shot” that will tell the story in 1 photo…

I think Rafael got pretty close on this photo.  One of the traditions of  Toys for Joy was to award a bicycle to a young boy and girl near the end of the event…This young girl was just told she was going to be getting a new bicycle for Christmas!  The rest of the photos add to the story…

Praise God for Toys for Joy.  That kids who might not receive anything at Christmas might be blessed and know who this season is truly about….Jesus!

You can learn more about Toys for Joy by going HERE.

Toys 4 Joy 2011

Over the years I have been blessed to see quite a few Toys 4 Joy outreaches up close and personal…it’s always different and always a chance to see God work in new and special ways.  I share some of my thoughts and images from over the years at one1shot.wordpress.com 

Oaxaca, MX: The Photo Fun

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Well we have been in Oaxaca Mexico for the last three days and the Lord has been good to me as we have toured the local communities, churches, pyramids, ruins, and natural landscape beauty.  I say the Lord has been good to me because I realize that we have it so good in the US.  Now here in Oaxaca we can get many of the favorites in the US like Coke, Italian Gilatto, and Corn Flakes but also get to enjoy much of the rich Mexican cuisine.  We may not always have hot water and some other creature comforts but the people here are awesome and I’m enjoying the tourist side with an insiders look.  I’ll post another blog soon about our tour guide and mission director Dave Miller.

Now the Lord has been good to me but it has come with obstacles.  The last two weeks before the trip, like most times we are doing His work, we face things that have us doubting our abilities or desire to help others.  Patience and perseverance are important any time we do the works that further the name of Jesus.  The first day here was an incredible despite having been pick-pocketed, having to cancel my ATM and credit card, and losing my drivers license in the process.  God shows us that we need to rely on Him to assist us when we have things removed from us.  Thank God that He has put some very special people in my life who were quick to come to my assistance like Cyndy lending me her cell phone, Terry getting me a number to contact a credit card company or Brother Joe helping me to pick up food and other expenses along the way.  I thank each of them for being in my life and being so quick to help a Brother-In-Christ out.

Matthew 6:25-34

25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?

26“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31“So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I’m really looking forward toward our mission work which I will blog about soon.  Enjoy the slide show of the other images I have shot since Monday.  More to come soon so please keep checking the site.


Jim Wanglund

Mission-Focused Photographer

and the answer is….Jesus!

toys for joy is this saturday….so i thought i would post some photos from past years.  it was fun looking back and seeing some of the faces of those who have helped out over the years.  from last years rain soaked event to cold friday nites at iglesia bautista, these photos go back to 2003.  i think i started shooting the then miles ahead toys for joy back in 2002 and have been to almost everyone since.  if you get a chance to talk with some of the “old timer” mac folks, they have tons of great stories of faith and trust when they had no toys and no money and how God “hooked it up”….and every kid left with a toy at the end of the nite.

as this years event looks to be the biggest to date…i cant help but be excited for how God is gonna work in the big events just like He did back in the day…..

Praise God!

January 2010 Wallpaper

Here is our wallpaper for January 2010. We will be updating these monthly. This shot was photographed at the 2009 Toys for Joy event. Nothing in the world beats a child’s smile and I can’t help but smile myself everytime I see this shot. So here’s to a happy New Year!Click on the size below to download.

2560 x 1600

1280 x 853

do something san diego

the rock church held a press conference today at the jackie robinson ymca, to promote volunteerism in san diego.  pastor miles was there, along with mayor sanders and councilman tony young, who represents district 4.  it was in his district that the rock do something campaign earlier this year helped clean up around chollas lake, colina del sol, and the jacobs center.

the rock also donated the extra toys from the 13th annual toys4joy event on saturday.  do something rock church!

An experience…

Two years ago was literally my first Rock Photography experience… I felt almost – well – lost… My shots were out of focus, off in composition, it was a learning experience… It was Toys for Joy 2007. I thank God for that opportunity. I grew so much as a photographer and truthfully got to see how documenting where God is working can be so amazing… Today– as a Rock Photographer – it has been unbelievable. And now, 2009, not only has our photo ministry grown, but so has Toys for Joy – in every way possible… I had a great time and it was truly great to be a witness…

That last one says it all for me – cut away all the distractions – the massive amounts of people, the piles of toys and clothes, the rain…. heck even the color in the picture!… to a child it didn’t matter… they are just so drawn by the one gift that they get to come away with… it was the feeling that whatever their personal situation, this is the thing that mattered in this moment… that was their moment.

Toys For Joy: The reason for it all…

Amazing how everyone both guests and volunteers, braved the cold and rain to make this a successful event.  The main focus of course was to help those in need at this special time of the year.  The look of anticipation on the kids faces was more than enough reward for me but even more important was the lives that were changed  A simple gesture of the giving of ones time, some toys, clothes, food, and/or prayer are all that He asks of us.  But how often He gives us so much more back in the interactions we have with others while sharing the love He intended us to use.  We don’t ask for any anything in return for our gestures of good will but God always surprises us with what we least expect.  May God work on your heart this Christmas and as we rush around, try to remember that there are many who need our love and support.

In Him,

Jim Wanglund


These are what I will remember from Toys for Joy.  I started shooting early in the morning and faces were what my camera was drawn to. The emotion was real. I usually always shoot in color and then convert to Black and White during editing. For some reason I felt as though I needed to view this event in Black and White, so that nothing would distract me from the emotion taking place around me. Here were some of  the emotions I witnessed throughout the event.

Relief:  As a parent I know the joy of giving something to my son. Their expressions are worth anything in this world. At the event I witnessed relief in the faces of parents who would do anything to make their kids smile. The fact that they had the opportunity to do this through Toys for Joy gave them a feeling of peace during a very stressful time of year. This relief brought smiles to their faces that matched their children’s.

Compassion:  The volunteers at this event were amazing. Everyone showed up with a heart to serve, no task was underneath anyone and it showed. It was cold, wet and muddy, but you wouldn’t know that if you just saw the faces of those serving.

Humility:  Once again on the faces of those serving. As a volunteer I just wished there was more that I could do for these families.

Joy:  Nothing beats the smile of children. I loved catching their faces as they stood in line, some were excited, others were shy. however no child left the event without a smile on their face. What child doesn’t love the chance to go crazy in the rain, and for that reason I understand why God doesn’t need to hold back the rain when Toys for Joy comes to town.

At the end of the day my body definitely let me know I did something, and I couldn’t help but smile.

Toys 4 Joy 2009

do something!   toys 4 joy was crazy.  tons of folks, i havent heard officail numbers yet, but i left around 245pm, and there were still folks lined up for toys.  a long, long line!

this is the 8th toys for joy ive been part of, i think… and everyone is different, and the location has changed several times in the last few years.  but what remains constant is God’s Love and our need for a Saviour.  it was a long, wet and muddy day, and im dog tired.  woof!  praise God!

Toys 4 Joy 2009 is this Saturday!

toys 4 joy.  this saturday 9am to 2pm at Memorial Park & Rec Center

Ocean View Blvd. & 30th St. ,  San Diego,  CA 92113