Dungeness Community Church brought jolly Christmases to 195 families in the area this year.
Volunteers continued the 18-year tradition of the Community Christmas House on Dec. 12, bringing new donated presents for people of all ages who are in difficult financial situations. Proof of income is not required.
Parents, guardians and children can choose presents for each other and have them gift-wrapped, all for free.
Carolyn Dennis, co-organizer said, "Every year it gets bigger and better."
"It went from a few tables to wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling filled with toys."
Church members and Toys for Tots brought in about 1,000 toys and items this year compared to 600 in years prior.
Since starting in 1992, Christmas House runs on the second Saturday of December.
"It takes a small army to run it with about 100-150 volunteers to run all tasks," Dennis said.
"It's a huge production, like a play."
Participants line up early to get first pick from the hundreds of presents and items. Only a few people are allowed inside the gift area at a time.
Breakfast and lunch are provided throughout the day with events for children such as arts and crafts and a jump house.
A rummage room, similar to a one-room garage sale, also is available for families. Community members donate used goods including clothes, household items, toys and books throughout the year and families can fill one large plastic bag to take home.
"It seems to me that the rummage room blesses them just as much as wrapped presents do," Dennis said.
Pam Walker, a professional photographer in Sequim, shoots portraits of families. Dennis said more families and young children are dressing up for the event to get their picture taken.
Growing for 19 years
The Sequim event runs simultaneously with one at Independent Bible Church in Port Angeles, which served more than 170 families at its Christmas House event. DCC volunteers encouraged IBC to run a similar event.
Dennis, Sandy McCulloch, Sharon Waters and Rosalie DiMaggio have coordinated the Sequim event for seven years after the co-founders retired after 11 years.
The small committee is pleased by the results.
"We hope to bless families in need this time of year and bless them with the love of Christ," Dennis said.
Money donations for Christmas House are taken year-round.
Contributions can be made to Dungeness Community Church with "Christmas House" in a check memo line.
Items for the rummage room are collected the first week of December.
Dennis encourages people of faith to pray for the ministry.
Dungeness Community Church is at 45 Eberle Lane, Sequim, and can be reached at 683-7333 or www.dcchurch.org.