This past Saturday, Rev. Robert Lacy, Jr. along with congregation member Marsha Warner brought smiles of joy to the faces of more than 30 children in West Oakland at the historical St. Andrew Missionary Baptist Church.
The church has housed African-American congregations since it was built in 1920, and in 1969 served as the site of the first Black Panther Party breakfast program that was the model for the modern WIC assistance program. The church has been home to St. Andrew since 1978 and was added to the State Historic Resources Inventory in 1991.
Lacy has given away Christmas toys for the past six years. Their church community outreach programs were founded under the leadership of Senior Pastor Robeth Lacy and have shone brightly every holiday season.
Lacy said the closure of Toys R Us stores caused some major donors such as the U.S. Marines to withdraw from the giveaway. But despite this unexpected problem the community stepped in to assure that the children received their toys. Supporters included the Upper Room Church of God in Christ, Target Stores, Evergreen Baptist Church, Greg McConnell and the Post Newspaper Group.
Sister Martha Warner said they used social media, and Lacy walked door-to-door to inform the community of the toy giveaway.
Opening the evening with a short worship service, the sanctuary was alive with the excited voices of children. This Little Light of Mine, the opening song, raised the energy level in the sanctuary with everyone participating. Children were called up by age group and were delighted with their toys.
We do for our community because we have to help our community, Lacy said.