California Community Rallies for Church Toy Giveaway After Fire Destroys Building

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CBN News

A California community banded together in the spirit of Christmas after a local church building went up in flames just hours before its holiday toy giveaway Sunday.

Victory Outreach Pomona erupted in flames around 2:45 a.m., Sunday Dec. 17. By the time firefighters arrived, the 12,000 square-foot building was already engulfed in flames, and at risk of collapsing.

“We rushed over there and watched it go down right in front of our eyes,” said Pastor Jerry Orozco told Los Angeles Daily News.

It took firefighters more than three hours to contain the fire. They said the building, which was built in 1981, was at a “total loss.”

Even worse, 500 people had registered for a children’s toy drive planned later that evening, and all the toys previously collected by the congregation were destroyed.

“That is the horrible timing of this one,” L.A. County Fire Capt. Sheila Kelliher-Berkoh told the Los Angeles Times.

In the spirit of Christmas, officials at the L.A. County Fire department quickly decided to help.

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“We have to help save Christmas for this congregation,” said Kelliher-Berkoh. “We know the building isn’t the church. The church is in the hearts of these people and we’re here to help.”

KABC-TV’s Spark of Love campaign, the California Highway Patrol, local firefighters and neighboring churches, including Abundant Living, The Way and Calvary Chapel of Upland donated more than enough toys.

“No child should have to go through the holidays without,” said Los Angeles County Fire Chief Anthony Marrone. “So we called ABC7 and we got the group together to deliver 500 toys not only to the kids in Victory Outreach, but to the kids in the community.”

To read the rest of the story, visit our content partners at CBN News.

Reprinted with permission from Copyright © 2023 The Christian Broadcasting Network Inc. All rights reserved.

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