On December 20th, the Community Christmas Celebration returns to Richmond. For the third year running, congregations, local businesses, the Richmond Police Department, and generous individuals are working together to make sure that everyone in Richmond has a wonderful holiday season.
At last year’s Community Christmas Celebration, One Accord, a 501c3 organization, helped over 275 families get the things they need to get through the holiday season. We gave grants to help cover PG&E bills, gift cards to help parents afford Christmas presents, and winter coats to help people stay warm during the chilly months.
This generosity is only possible with the help of partnerships from many different parts of the city. The more people we have involved, the more people we can help. To some local families, the Community Christmas Celebration makes the difference between spending Christmas in a shelter, or gathered comfortably around a tree knowing that the bills are covered.
There are dozens of stories of the Celebration helping local families. Last year we had a mother attend with her four children. The family had been homeless off and on for a year, and at the Celebration we were able to arrange a grant for her to get back on her feet, and we gifted coats to all of her children. When her daughter put on that little pink coat, she had such a look of happiness on her face that her mom started tearing up with the relief and joy she felt. I realized in that moment that all the work for the event is worth it. I also realized that the Celebration is something that we need to keep going.
The event started out with just Pastor Henry Washington from Garden of Peace and me. We wanted to bring together different parts of the community through the different congregations around the city. It worked, and people really responded to the event. We connected people living in Central Richmond and South Richmond with people in North Richmond to celebrate the holiday together.
After the success of the past few years, we now have partnerships with the Garden of Peace Ministry, St. Luke’s Missionary Baptist Church, All Nation’s Church of God and Christ, Scion Miracle Temple, Church of God of Christ, and the Richmond Police Department. The congregations brings together the communities, and the RPD helps facilitate the event.
It’s amazing to see the bonds that are built during the Community Christmas Celebration. People who live in completely different parts of the city — whose lives may not ever overlap otherwise — come together to celebrate a holiday of generosity and compassion with each other.
The event is just plain fun, too. In addition to the great help that families receive, we have raffles, musical performances, caroling, a Santa Claus for the kids, and a full dinner. It’s one of the only opportunities where people can get together and have a fun night like that. Seeing everyone come together is such an incredible moment. It’s one of the happiest days of the year for so many people.
Year after year the Community Christmas Celebration has continued to grow. This year we expect to help over 300 families, and the event is only going to get bigger from here. More businesses and people around the city are hearing about the event, and I have new people contact me every week looking to help out, but we’re always looking for more help. If we all get together, we’ll be able to make sure everyone in Richmond has a happy holiday.
If you are interested in extending a hand to the Community Christmas Celebration, feel free to reach out to me on my cell at 415-346-7340 or on email at firstname.lastname@example.org. FYI, all contributions are tax deductible. We hope to see you there!
Community Christmas Celebration
Saturday, December 20th, from 5:30 pm to 9 pm
2330 Macdonald Avenue, Richmond
By: Sabrina Saunders, Community Christmas Celebration organizer