Residents of Cherry Street Mission and members of the Cedar Creek Church eat Thursday during a celebration of the Cherry Street Mission residents at Cedar Creek Church in Perrysburg.
Dozens of Cherry Street Mission and Sparrow's Nest residents participated in a holiday celebration this evening at CedarCreek's Perrysburg Township campus.
Residents were served meals, were given presents, and had live entertainment. CedarCreek also held a Christmas service for residents, volunteers, and staff. Cedar Creek estimated about 200 residents and staff, along with hundreds of volunteers, would participate in the event at the campus, 29129 Lime City Road.
Tom Martin, lead pastor at the Perrysburg Township campus, said the event was a chance to have residents sit down with the congregation at dinner together and celebrate. Church leaders had considered sending volunteers to soup kitchens and other locations to serve meals, but then considered how church members would want to spend Christmas. They decided to hold an event that they would want to attend, and celebrate with Cherry Street and Sparrow's Nest residents together.
"It was all about, 'What would we want?'," Mr. Martin said.
The residents have decided to make changes in their lives, he said, and CedarCreek members wanted to recognize that and help inspire them. The church had to turn away volunteers, because so many in the congregation wanted to help, Mr. Martin said.
The event helped create normalcy for residents in an abnormal time for them, said Dan Rogers, president and CEO of Cherry Street Mission Ministries. He said the outreach from CedarCreek was surprising to guests.
"You can always tell genuine," Mr. Rogers said. "It's just a genuine care for people."
Promedica and the University of Toledo partnered with CedarCreek, Cherry Street, and Sparrow's Nest for the event, called "A Night Wrapped in Red."
CedarCreek is donating $1 to the Cherry Street Mission and Salvation Army for every person who attends services on Dec. 22, 23, and 24. The church expects more than 25,000 to attend those services.