Isaiah’s Rock Ministry Christmas giveaway

A small child reaches for a toy at a past Isaiah’s Rock Ministry Christmas giveaway at Chino City Hall. This year’s giveaway will be held Sunday, Dec. 22. 

In mid-December, a large building at the Fairplex in Pomona will resemble Santa’s workshop as hundreds of volunteers for Isaiah’s Rock Ministry of Chino sort and pack donated toys and  gifts for the charity’s annual Christmas giveaway on Sunday, Dec. 22.

Donations of gift cards for teenage recipients, new skateboards and bicycles are sought for the event, to be held 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Chino City Hall. 

Donations may be dropped off at the Isaiah’s Rock headquarters, a Victorian-style home located at 13031 Seventh St., Chino.

Also sought are volunteers for the distribution on the day of the event. Charleen King, who co-founded Isaiah’s Rock with her late husband David about 33 years ago, said additional volunteers are not currently needed for the packing at the Fairplex.

Recipient registration

Tickets were distributed Wednesday during the charity’s annual Thanksgiving food giveaway for appointment times for families to visit Isaiah’s Rock headquarters to apply for the Christmas toy and food distribution. Persons who were unable to attend the Thanksgiving giveaway but want to apply for the Christmas distribution should visit Isaiah’s Rock Wednesdays and Fridays following Thanksgiving to pick up a ticket.

The appointments will be held Dec. 1 through approximately Dec. 15.

During those appointments, potential recipients provide their information, including birth certificates or school forms that prove their children are theirs. The needs of the families or individuals are also determined during those meetings.

The Christmas giveaway serves thousands each year.

Families begin lining up for the giveaway the night before the event, many “camping” out on the city hall lawn. Mrs. King said that night is her favorite part of the giveaway because of the joyous atmosphere of recipients and volunteers. She said food is shared, children play, a small band performs, and a Chino Valley Boy Scout Troop provides bread pudding and hot apple cider, and umbrellas if rain is in the forecast.

Tickets are handed out to children who behave themselves for a drawing of used bicycles that have been donated to Isaiah’s Rock.

“We just have so much fun,” Mrs. King said.

On the day of the Christmas giveaway, hundreds of volunteers distribute the items to smiling recipients. City dignitaries usually show up, Mrs. King said. 

This year, DJ Keith Johnson, who works at the Costco in Chino Hills, will entertain. 

A man also provides popcorn to the recipients and the Chino Police Department staff brings Santa to the site around 8 a.m.

Year-round assistance

Isaiah’s Rock also provides food to approximately 500 families over two weekly giveaways, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the year. Lines begin forming early along the alley east of Chino United Methodist Church, corner of Riverside Drive and Seventh Street. The food giveaways are open to anyone in need and no paperwork is required.

For information about donating items, volunteering or applying for the Christmas giveaway, call Isaiah’s Rock at 628-0966 or email dub lin@aol.com.

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