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Christmas Day cheer spread through volunteers in Fort Smith

Volunteers with the Evangel Temple Assembly of God handed out 300 Christmas meals to those in need.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — Over an hour before meals were even handed out, dozens were lined up outside of the Evangel Temple gym waiting to receive a Christmas meal and care packages.

A team of nearly forty volunteers was able to hand out three hundred meals in only fourteen minutes this afternoon.

Those from around the area were able to take home a Christmas meal consisting of ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, a roll, and dessert along with care packages full of essential items.

The tradition goes back 34 years, and after canceling the event last year due to the coronavirus, organizers were glad to be back, even if things looked a little different this year.

"We're doing this as a drive-through or walk-through event," said Ryan Rose an associate pastor at Evangel Temple Assembly of God.

In years past, the Christmas meal was given inside of the gym, and Rose says he hopes to be back next year.

Despite changing things up this Christmas, it was clear the meaning of Christmas was felt by those volunteering and those in need.

"It lets them know that they matter," said Rose. He continued, "I hope and believe it lets them know that God does care about them."

Shala Conner, a recipient of a Christmas meal said, "I think it's wonderful and Jesus is the reason for the season."

This sentiment was evident throughout the entire event. 

With family and friends teaming up to volunteer, Rose said the event helped spread what the real meaning of Christmas is all about, "getting to be a part of something that I feel is very Christ-like, which is giving instead of receiving and I feel like that is what Christmas should be."

If you are interested in helping volunteer next Christmas or for any other Church on the Street event, you can call the Evangel Temple Assembly of God offices at (479) 782-9121.

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