harnessing the power of photography for good

Posts tagged “Christmas

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


Christmas 2012 :: Free Portraits for Military Families

08We had a great time on Saturday, December 8th, blessing Military Families in San Diego.  MISSION focused gathered up a bunch of talented photographers to offer Military Families in San Diego an opportunity to have their Family Portraits taken at Liberty Station.  We had 36 families, representing the Navy, Marines and the Army, come join us Saturday morning.  It was a beautiful morning to bless those who serve our country and their families.   You can see more photos 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.


Sleepless San Diego :: Face of Homelessness

I first started photographing for the San Diego Rescue Mission in 2003, at their Annual Thanksgiving Community Dinner.  It has been a true honor to see up close, through the lens, the work that the Mission is doing for the homeless population in San Diego.

At this years Sleepless San Diego, the had a photo exhibit called “Face of Homelessness.”

Inside this tent were photos of the homeless in San Diego.  Linda, who put the exhibit together asked if I would contribute some photos, since she heard I had been helping photograph at the Mission.  I said it would be an honor and I gladly gave her a few photos to pick from.  These are a few of the photos that they used…

This was taken in the morning before the Annual Thanksgiving Dinner.  Groups go into downtown inviting the homeless to dinner…I was following a group that wandered down to Seaport Village Embarcadero Park.

I think this photo was taken at Easter Dinner.  One of the great things the Mission does is after the dinner, they give everyone a “goodie” bag of essentials.  They have 3 Community Dinners a year: Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  If you want to be blessed, volunteer for one of these events.
This was taken at a homeless outreach in Balboa Park.  They meet on Saturday mornings for Church Without Walls.  They invite the homeless to come, rest and attend church.  Afterwards they feed them lunch, hand out Bibles and just talk with them.

The next 2 were also taken at Church Without Walls at Christmas time.

After the service, they gave out Christmas presents to everyone along with backpacks full of toiletries, socks and other assorted essential items.  This young boy came with his dad, and I think he was blessed as much as the man receiving the present.  It was certainly a humbling moment.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you,and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

(Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)

I am truly thankful for the opportunity to share some of these photos.  Hopefully, through these images folks can see that homelessness isn’t constrained by age or gender.  

These volunteers were walking around Sleepless with these signs…1 in 4 homeless are young adults ages 18-30!   The signs speak for themselves, even the ones upside down!

The SD Rescue Mission created this great video about 5 ways we can help the homeless.  Please take a look


Photopeeps is Back!

Christmas has come and gone but the Gift of Christ still keeps on giving for

those who still seek HIM!  

If you didn’t know, it was snowing this past Christmas at the Rock.  Great photo Cyndy!

We like to have fun and 2012 is gonna be fun.

We will be meeting this Wednesday, January 11th in Rm 353 at the Rock, 7pm.  All are welcome!

Since we haven’t met since last year before Christmas, this Wednesday is gonna be a sharing night. Hopefully all y’all have been taking lots of photos during our break because we want you to bring your five(5) favorite photos that you want to share with the class.

Being the 1st gathering of the new year and the fact that we like to have fun, we will have some snacks for y’all as well.  Feel free to bring some snacks, soda or steak to share with the class and come learn about all the fun we’re gonna have in 2012.

Any questions feel free to email us MISSION.focused@yahoo.com or leave a comment at the end of this post and we will get back to you.


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