miami_rescue_christmas_in-july_web.jpgMore than 1,200 homeless men, women and children got a really early jump on the year-end holiday season when the Miami Rescue Mission/Broward Outreach Centers treated them to Christmas in July.

Several volunteers at the mission’s centers in Miami, Hollywood and Pompano Beach catered to needy residents during the special treat.

The volunteers included members of Foundation of Hope, which helped sponsor the event in Pompano Beach.

The celebration included a big barbeque-style picnic and meal, live entertainment that included acts from Trinity Church and the Regeneration Singers — a group made up of the formerly homeless residents of the Miami Rescue Mission.

A clothing giveaway for adults in attendance and a giveaway of new sneakers were also part of the event. In total, more than 400 sneakers were handed out to children in anticipation of the new school year.

Homeless and needy individuals also got free haircuts, showers and health screenings. In Hollywood, Cosmetics Depot provided free cosmetic and skincare products as a gift to the homeless men and women who reside at the Broward Outreach Center Hollywood.

“It is great to be here to help and provide support to those in need,” said Andre Khan of Faith Presbyterian Church, who volunteered at the Broward Outreach Center Hollywood. “I brought my two daughters here so they can begin to give back at an early age.”

A Children’s Corner was set up at each center, offering pony rides, bounce houses, slides, snow cones and popcorns for the kids. At each site, Santa and Mrs. Claus, making a very early appearance, were joined by Uncle Sam to help give out the sneakers and special treats.

“This was such a wonderful day. It feels like Christmas should be everyday after you see a gathering like this,” said Latisha Johnson of Miami. “My kids were able to get brand-new shoes and have some goodies here. We are definitely so thankful of the Miami Rescue Mission for providing this.”

A Miami Rescue Mission/Broward Outreach Centers, statement describing the activities during the July 4 weekend, said in addition to the smiles, laughter and good times, there was also a deeper purpose to the celebration: helping the homeless take the first steps in becoming independent.

“We hold these events to help the homeless know that they are not forgotten,” said the Rev. Ronald Brummitt, president of the Miami Rescue Mission/Broward Outreach Centers. “We want to encourage them in every way we can to come in off the streets and get the help they need.”


GIFTS FROM SANTA: Santa Claus gives away new sneakers to the children attending the “Christmas in July” celebration in Miami, Hollywood and Pompano Beach hosted by Miami Rescue centers in the three cities.