LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Christmas came early for more than 650 families throughout Greater Lafayette on Saturday morning during the 36th annual Lafayette Urban Ministry Jubilee Christmas.
Elena Rodriguez went to the Jubilee Christmas at the First United Methodist Church.
“It’s amazing, and it was a really nice experience,” Rodriguez said.
At 27 locations across Lafayette and West Lafayette, parents got a chance to do some free Christmas shopping.
“They gave us really good gifts, and hopefully God keeps blessing them so they can keep doing this event,” Rodriguez said.
She picked out and wrapped presents for her 6-month-old daughter Arlette. Rodriguez said the event is really helpful because she is a single mother.
“It makes me feel … thankful that I know someone is … watching out and someone cares,” she said.
Parents who sign up are invited to one location to pick out new toys, books, food and clothes for their children. Volunteers help the parents wrap everything.
Churches, Greek organizations, businesses and volunteers help out.
“[There’s] something about Christmas time when it just seems like everybody is ready to give and to love. It’s a beautiful thing,” said Craig LaSuer, First United Methodist Church’s lead pastor.
LaSuer said 35 families are being helped at his location.
“And 79 children, 12 and under,” he said.
LaSuer said members of the church buy gifts and food for the families with money that is donated. The families also go home with a food card, homemade Christmas cookies and a ham.
“It’s not our birthday, it’s Jesus’s birthday, and what would he want us to do? He would want us to be loving on folks and so it just feels wonderful,” LaSuer said. “It feels like this is what we’re suppose to be doing.”
This year Jubilee Christmas is helping close to 2,000 children.
Rodriguez said she is excited to see the look on her daughter’s face when she opens up the gift she picked out.
“Yes, I can’t wait,” said Rodriguez.