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Ministry hosts annual Community Christmas Program

Charity serves 100 Southern Crescent children

Kathy Munnerlyn, left, and Anita Hammer perform a reading of ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ Sunday, during Community Equipping Outreach Ministry’s 2013 Community Christmas Program. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

Kathy Munnerlyn, left, and Anita Hammer perform a reading of ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ Sunday, during Community Equipping Outreach Ministry’s 2013 Community Christmas Program. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

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A trio of children were invited to sing Christmas carols Sunday, during Community Equipping Outreach Ministry’s 2013 Community Christmas Program. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

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Anita Hammer, left, and Kathy Munnerlyn,perform a reading of ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ Sunday, during Community Equipping Outreach Ministry’s 2013 Community Christmas Program. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

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Jasmine Collins, from left, and her two youngest children, Jordin, 1, and Jaylin, 4, were participants in Community Equipping Outreach Ministry’s 2013 Community Christmas Program. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

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A playful youngster awaits the start of Community Equipping Outreach Ministry’s 2013 Community Christmas Program. The event helps support area needy families for Christmas. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

HAMPTON — Their bright voices rang out over the campus under ominous skies.

A trio of children led carols Sunday inside the media center at Atlanta Motor Speedway for a Christmas program hosted by Community Bible Fellowship Church and its Community Equipping Outreach ministry.

The ministry is led by Pastor John Dewberry and his wife, Sharon, who organizes the annual Community Christmas Program.

“I’m concerned that its going to rain,” said Sharon Dewberry. “But we’ve had snow before, so we’re prepared for the weather.”

The rains held off most of the morning, giving needy families drier conditions to find their way to the Christmas celebration.

“I feel good about this,” said Jasmine Collins of Stockbridge.

Collins participated in the program with her three children, ages 1, 4, and 6. She is temporarily out of work.

“Its been a hard Christmas,” she said. “I think it’s a blessing to everybody that came out and got gifts for their kids.”

About 100 children and their families were invited to attend to the program, where they were treated to fellowship, singing, Sunday worship, dinner, gifts and snacks.

“I think it’s nice,” said Ronnie Brown of McDonough.

Brown is a deacon at Community Bible Fellowship Church, a small church of roughly 30 members that meets at the Speedway.

Small as it is, the church congregation’s works span the Southern Crescent helping families from Henry, Clayton, Spalding and South Fulton counties.

Each year, with the help of volunteers and local businesses, the church is able to adopt dozens of families and provide them with food and gifts for Christmas.

“The smile you see on their faces after you give them gifts,” Brown paused. “It’s nice. It’s for the kids that need it.”

Volunteers greeted families as they entered the media center Sunday.

One side of the facility served as the worship hall, where a disc jockey spun contemporary gospel records.

Gift bags of coats, toys and clothes filled one corner opposite of a lit Christmas tree, where youngsters later gathered to hear Anita Hammer recite Dr. Seuss’ tale of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

Hammer also joined John Dewberry in delivering the program’s message — “The Meaning of Christmas.”

On the other side of the building were tables of hot foods and cool snacks. An ice cream truck waited outside to greet the children afterward with free cold treats.

Dewberry said residents can get involved with the annual charity by calling 770-313-2741 or emailing CEOministry@charter.net.