Christmas provides a wonderful opportunity to open our hearts and reach out to our neighbors. Puentes de Esperanza, translated Bridges of Hope, invited our Spanish-speaking neighbors to participate in the joy and festivities that surround Christmas. Hoyleton’s annual Puentes de Esperanza Christmas welcomed 58 families, 197 individuals, to St. John’s United Church of Christ in Collinsville, Illinois. The cheerful atmosphere set the mood and invited individuals in our Hispanic community to share in the festivities of the Christmas season.
Hoyleton’s community partners, and volunteers, turned the church’s community space into a Christmas wonderland. Santa and his elves greeted families as they walked through the doors. Attendees were invited to take a picture with Santa and whisper their Christmas wish into his ear, hoping for a surprise on Christmas morning. The dining tables were decorated with pine boughs and glass candle holders filled with bright red berries floating in the water. The evening featured delicious food from La Esqinita and desert from Avodah Management McDonald’s. Holiday crafts made sure each child had a Christmas ornament to hang on their tree at home. Fifty-eight families were gifted a laundry basket filled with food staples for holiday cooking. Seventy laundry baskets were prepared by the Place of Grace congregants, each containing cans of fruit, flour, beans, rice, canned vegetables, and more. The evening drew to a close with a Christmas raffle and mitten giveaway to keep little hands warm.
The event embodied the spirit of Christmas, a time for reflection, and building the bonds of brotherly love and friendship with our neighbors. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to new and old friends from Hoyleton Youth and Family Services. For information on Puentes de Esperanza events, call 618.688.4739.
*A special thank you to St. John’s UCC, La Esqinita, Santa and his elves, Place of Grace, The Woelffel, Chacon, Bittle, and Shinn families; Alliance Brothers Construction, Puentes & HYFS board members and staff, and Avodah Management McDonald’s.