Not even thieves could ruin Christmas in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
For months, the Bridgeport, Connecticut, community was collecting gifts to be donated to children in need this holiday season. The presents were being organized and stored at Greater Bridgeport Christian Fellowship Church, and would later be distributed to thousands of children unlikely to receive any other presents this year. Volunteers had spent countless hours sorting the gifts and preparing them for send off. Unfortunately, thieves broke in and stole a large portion of the donations, according to CNN.
Pastor Torres, who presided over the church, was left wondering how he was going to save Christmas for the many children he had promised to provide gifts for. He clung to his faith that God would provide. Meanwhile, miles away, in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, a 36-year-old man named Lucas Burnley was already planning to save the day.
Burnley owns a small business and is often just focusing on putting food on the table for his family. However, his generosity knows no bounds. For the last several years he and his wife, Maddie, have helped raise funds for a number of charitable organizations by auctioning off their own handmade tools. In the past, proceeds from their raffle have gone to organizations such as Toys for Tots and Stuff a Bus, a fundraiser local to the Cape Cod area. Heartbroken upon hearing the news of the Connecticut burglary, the couple chose to help out Greater Bridgeport Christian Fellowship Church.
The Burnelys were able to raise $45,000 to assist the Connecticut church in providing Christmas for those in need. The couple worked nonstop for two weeks to raise the funds and purchase gifts, their home overflowing with every toy imaginable.
“When I’m buying toys, I don’t feel like Santa, I feel like a kid,” Lucas said. They then packed up their van and drove to Connecticut to deliver the presents in person.
After their long drive, Pastor Torres greeted the couple with open arms.
“It was like a hug felt ’round the world,” the pastor said. The group was not without assistance unloading the newly delivered gifts. Following church services, Pastor Torres was approached by three members of the Latin Kings gang. Despite their tough appearance, the gang members were inspired by the faith of Pastor Torres and the generosity of the Burnleys. They offered to do whatever they could to help save Christmas for families in need.
“Tragedy can knit a community together,” said Pastor Torres.
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