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 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.
Easter on the Ranch is a time for boys and girls who have incarcerated parents, along with their families, to enjoy a day away from their city life. The volunteers at the ranch provide for them a western experience that includes hayrides, horse rides and farm animals.
There are over 70,000 children ages 7-15 in the Southern California area that have incarcerated parents. The statistics show that these children are five times more likely to end up in prison themselves. They are seven times more likely to become involved in the juvenile justice system than their peers. And they are more likely to suffer from depression, substance abuse, disruptive behavior, eating and sleeping disorders, diminished academic performance, and feelings of abandonment, loneliness, shame, guilt, and resentment.
The kids get to color eggs and make Easter crafts. It is a time to have fun and hang out with their friends.
Calicinto Ranch does much more than just this once a year Easter celebration for these boys and girls, they also put on spring break and summer camps for them. Here the kids get to hear Bible stories and sing worship songs. They learn the six pillars of Character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. Calicinto Ranch gives children a life changing experience in order to break the cycles of at-risk youth of incarcerated parents.
To lean more about the Ranch go HERE
To see more photos from the day go HERE