The 12th Annual Christmas Wonderland, sponsored by First Step Back Home, was held COVID Style this year on a relatively warm winter day (54 degrees and sunny) in the parking lot at the United Methodist Church in Wentzville Saturday December 19, 2020.
The rally from the community was so evident this year with more than 400 Bibles distributed from Matthais' Lot Church, St. Charles, non-perishable snack food bags for 535 people packaged by friends from Grace Community Chapel, St. Peters, nearly 200 filled laundry baskets collected by several groups including Mercy Health Care Co-workers at physician offices all over the eastern Missouri region and clients from Mission Financial in St. Peters, and ministry friends who organized smaller collections. Lots and lots of diapers were provided by Crisis Nursery, and toys from Toys for Tots along with other FSBH ministry supporters were packed up for the 232 children who were from the families served.
In addition to all the goodie bags, each family was presented with a $25 gift card donated by ministry friends (Jim and Barbara McCormick, Billy and Kathy Schweikert, Wentzville UMC Men's Group and Grace Community Chapel), and the 83 teen gift bags were distributed including a $10 gift card from the Tammy Stratman Brown Charities group.
It took a great group of volunteers to make all the details come together. Masked and gloved angels and elves distributed things as cars passed by the tents in the church parking lot. Santa was staged strategically to wave at kids this year, as all the families stayed in their own cars throughout the event.
Since an abundance of laundry baskets showed up this time, the ministry was able to pass on several to other local ministries, including LINC, Immanuel Lutheran Church outreach, Wentzville UMC Adopt-a-Family program and Matthew 25 womenís service group.
Paul and Lana Kruse, founders of FSBH and organizers of the event, expressed their gratitude to all who came together to make this truly a Christmas Wonderland for so many needy families.