On Saturday, December 17, over 8,000 homeless and those in need attended Operation Care International ‘s (OCI) 8th annual 2011 Christmas Gift at the Dallas Convention Center. Described as the ‘nation’s largest Christmas party for the homeless’, the Christmas Gift served so many that needed so much. Over 3,000 humble and caring volunteers participated in partnership with charitable organizations, church groups, sponsors (corporate, small business and individuals) and donors. Food, clothing, and services were distributed to the homeless and those in need in a festive, comfortable and safe environment. Planning began in July in order to coordinate the event, collect and procure the goods and thousands of man hours of effort were required to create a special day for the homeless and families in need. Guests and volunteers alike agreed that the ‘Spirit of Christmas’ was present, beginning to end.
As a special event to honor our veterans (1 in 4 homeless is a veteran) ten World War II veterans were honored as a symbolic honoring of all veterans at the opening ceremony on Saturday morning. Music and entertainment were performed at an outside and inside stage throughout the day.
Consider being a part of the 2012 Christmas Gift for the Homeless. And, OCI has outreaches throughout the year that you can participate in. Go to: http://www.opcare.org/other_ministries to find out more.
2011 Christmas Gift Highlight Summary:
• An event proclamation by Councilman Sheffie Kadane
• Letters of greetings and recognition from Rick Perry, Governor of Texas
• Special recognition for homeless veterans
• 8,000+ homeless guests; 8 busloads of guests arrived from DFW area shelters
• 3,149 volunteers representing 532 organizations, groups and churches
• 615 professions of faith, 498 rededications
• 9,900 meals prepared and served by Texas Baptist Men; 10,000 bottles of Gatorade; 1,000 of loaves of bread (Allan Spillers and Friends)
• 6,750 pairs of new shoes distributed
• Thousands of new blankets, sleeping bags and adult and children’s coats were distributed.
• Praise, worship and entertainment provided by 30 different groups and over 300 entertainers
• Volunteers will work in the following areas: Prayer, Children, Volunteer Task Force, Homeless Gifts, Medical, Evangelism, Facilities, Inside Ministry (Counseling, Family Reunification, Haircuts, Makeovers, Food), Praise & Worship Entertainment, Fundraising, Outside Ministry, Media/PR, Security, Logistics.
• Truckloads (360+ pallets) coats, clothes, shoes, and toys warehoused and delivered (Exchange Logistics); Campus Crusade for Christ, ‘GAiNUSA’ (clothing, shoes, personal care products); Baylor University Medical Center (22 pallets of toys and hundreds of coats); Buckner International (new shoes and socks); Soles for Kidz (new shoes and socks); Samaritan’s Feet (new shoes); various drives collected thousands of blankets, sleeping bags, shoes and personal care products
• Participation by area hospitals and medical providers
• Event media coverage from KCBI (90.9 FM radio), KLTY (94.9 FM radio), KAJN (102.9 FM radio), WFAA 8 TV, Fox 4 TV, CBS 11 TV, Daystar TV, Univision 23 TV
Christmas Gift Video