On Sunday afternoon, December 8, volunteers at the Northpoint Church ran a Toy Extravaganza which provided toys for 170 community children from families who receive food parcels throughout the year. Over 400 people enjoyed the carnival atmosphere with petting zoo, craft, jumping castle, balloons, face-painting, carols, storytelling, BBQ dinner and, for each child, a visit to the toy room where they were able to choose a toy that suited them. Every child was guided to the area of toys for their age by a child volunteer from Northpoint.
Approximately two thousand dollars worth of toys were donated for the event to ensure every child had something for Christmas. Each child was also given a lolly bag so the joy of the event would last longer in their memory. Event coordinator Avril Duncan said, “It was a truly amazing experience to see Northpoint along with the community having fun. We have received a lot of feedback and it has all been good.”
This year’s Toy Extravaganza follows the inaugural one last year and sets a tradition that Northpoint intends to continue into the future. Avril said, “I don’t know what we are going to do next year to make it better than this year. This year was so wonderfully successful!” Avril is very appreciative of the 30 adults and 10 children from Northpoint Church who volunteered, making the day possible.
Every food parcel, Bible study, church program, community event and relationship formed at Northpoint Church is part of a process of bringing people one step closer to God’s intention for their life. The day before the event this year, Sussan Nguyen, a food parcel recipient who first visited Northpoint Church at last year’s Toy Extravaganza, was baptised into Northpoint Church. Near the end of this year’s event, a community member asked how he could become a volunteer involved at Northpoint.
Many of the people in the 43 suburbs around Melbourne who receive food parcels are refugees from war torn countries. Pastor Daron Pratt, balloon man for the day, reflected on the pain evident in the faces of many refugees who attended the event. “It was a blessing to bring a smile to the faces of people who had gone through such suffering,” he said.
When asked why Northpoint Church ran the Toy Extravaganza, Pastor Loren Pratt said, “While there is even one sad and lonely child who is going to miss the joy of Christmas we have to keep dreaming bigger and better Toy Extravaganzas.”
Carol’s singer Kini Salavuki said, “I am proud to be a Northpointer and also happy that I belong to the church that touches people’s lives. Now that’s Heaven on earth.”
Pastor Daron Pratt, brother of the Northpoint Church Pastor, reflected on the event saying, “Today I saw Jesus...The NorthPoint Centre adults and children who gave their all to bring a little bit of joy to 170 children and their parents was amazing to witness. I have never in my whole ministry seen any evangelistic effort work as well as this!”
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