SUWANEE — Collections are being received at “hot spot” locations around Suwanee for the sixth annual Christmas in the Park event that puts on a Christmas program and gathers items for needy families.
The event is organized by Shadowbrook Baptist Church and Caring Hearts Ministry, a local food bank. Its goals this year are to provide canned food to feed 1,000 families for a week, 500 pairs of new or gently used shoes for kids size five through adult size 12, and 400 new or gently used coats for kids or adults.
The Caring Hearts Ministry in the last 10 years has provided more than 7,000 food boxes to families in need, and serves residents living in the 30024 and 30518 zip codes. Family Life Church in Suwanee is also partnering for the cause.
To provide food, shoes or coats, Shadowbrook Children’s Minister Jeff Sorrow said there are several “hot spot” locations around Suwanee that will collect items through Dec. 19. They are Artful Living, Babies & Bellies, Big Peach Running Co., Golden Seven, Hairllucinations, Dress Up Boutique, Marco’s Pizza, Ippolito’s, La Ti Da, Mellow Mushroom, Panache, Planet Smoothie, Pooch N Paws, Popcorn Palladium, Revival and Yogli Mogli.
Each of those businesses offer percentage discounts for donations.
“We’re off to a great start,” Sorrow said. “We’ve collected a lot of things just in the couple weeks we’ve been doing it. People have really responded around the park.”
The Christmas in the Park program, which is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Dec. 13 and 14, is when Town Center Park becomes a replica of Dickens Village complete with store fronts, a cookie shop, library and bakery.
“We’re really just hoping to do this as a gift to the community, that families can do this during the Christmas season, and have fun things that kids can do,” Sorrow said. “And an opoortuntiy for poeple to give.”
The Christmas village consists of 11 Christmas buildings that offer children’s activities and a children’s nativity for kids. There will be a children’s train ride along lights and sounds of Christmas. Attendees can also enjoy complimentary cups of hot chocolate and cookies and stop to get photographs with costume Dicken’s villagers.
Organizers expect about 2,000 people to attend the event, which is put on by several hundred church volunteers.
Shops of candy, games and crafts are available for kids, and area school choirs are scheduled to perform, Sorrow said.