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Volunteers highlight the need for Rock Church's annual Toys For Joy event

Volunteers highlight the need for Rock Church's annual Toys For Joy event
Posted at 12:17 PM, Dec 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-09 15:17:31-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)- Rock Church is spreading some holiday cheer to thousands of families across the county this weekend. The annual Toys for Joy event will be held this Saturday. Families will walk away with toys, food, and clothing.

Last year’s event was held at Mesa College. On Saturday, San Diego families will visit four of the Rock Church Campuses around the county for the giveaway.

Volunteer Tarlease Jones says she was a recipient of the program but now she returns every year to give back.

“The day that I showed up, I promise you I showed up embarrassed,” says Jones. “I showed up ashamed. I showed up uncertain.”

Jones recalls a tough time in her life as a single mom. She says it was difficult not knowing if her kids would have a Christmas.

“The first year that we came, my family moved here from a stressful situation and I didn’t know how I was gonna provide for my kids for the holiday season.”

Jones says her mom, Geniese Lingon, introduced her to Toys For Joy. Lingon has been a volunteer for the event since 2005.

“For mommies, when ours hurt, We hurt,” says Lingon. “When my daughter didn’t have it, I could not provide much more than I had.”

Jones went to her first Toys For Joy event. From then on, she has continued to be involved with the program.

“The third year, I was up on my feet I was able to stabilize myself and I said it's time for me to give back,” says Jones.

“To watch her years later, to come and be a volunteer herself and to give back and to continue to remember when we move forward we always reach back,” says Lingon.

This is the 26th year Rock Church has put on the event.

Last year alone over 18,000 toys, nearly 13,000 articles of clothing and more than 243,000 pounds of food were given away.

“It just makes me feel blessed,” says Jones. “It makes me feel happy. I feel overflowed with joy. It puts a smile on my heart because I know this might be the only time that this kid has something during the holiday season.”

The mom-and-daughter duo says they are adding a third to their group. Jones’ teenage daughter will begin volunteering this year.

“It just opens my heart,” says Lingon.

“Now being able to do this with my mom and do this with my daughter and share this legacy in our family is a blessing,” says Jones.

Rock Church is still in need of donations and volunteers to help with the event.