Share the Warmth — A Family Christmas Eve began in 2014 with 60 volunteers, a box truck and trailer, in Stadium Park, Canton. The first event served 40 people by providing clothing and much-needed supplies.
In 2015, the event was held in the parking lot of Stark County District Library downtown Canton. A huge Christmas feast was added, courtesy of Michelle Beyer, from Addiction: Voices of Hope. We also added hair cuts, makeup and nails to our services and served roughly 500 guests. Leftover food was taken to Refuge of Hope. Partner organizations included Matthew 8:20, True North Church, Alliance Nazarene Church, Bill McDole landscaping, Life in the Son ministries and Addiction: Voices of hope.
By 2016, the event served well over 700 people. The event moved to the Martin Center; which enabled us to hold the event indoors, and add additional services like showers for the homeless.
As the event and organization grows, we’re already talking about next year and the possibility of expanding the event to include locations in Massillon and Alliance.