With hundreds of vehicles creating lights of their own, waiting to gain access to the church parking lot, Real Life Church held a drive-thru Christmas event Friday and Saturday.
The event, which saw approximately 500 filled cars Friday and likely more than that on Saturday, the church used the function to spread Christmas cheer and joy this year in more ways than one.
As candy was distributed to kids as the procession moved through the parking lot — with the volunteers handing off the food through COVID-19-safe tubes — cars then drove past a group of churchgoers handing out gift bags.
The Santa Clarita Grocery food truck followed behind, accepting donations from participants.
“We wanted to do a cause along with it, so we have a food distribution truck over here,” said Kevin Finkbiner, campus pastor with Real Life Valencia, who was also dressed up as one of Santa’s elves. “We’ve already collected a couple truckloads of food from last night … to help folks who don’t have meals this holiday season.”
In addition to the candy and gift bags, those in attendance would drive by the church’s worship band, the staff of the coffee shop inside the church, the cast of “Frozen,” dancers from the Santa Clarita Theatre Guild, a Grinch dressed as Santa Claus, as well as a nativity scene complete with a live donkey.
“They’ve told us it makes them feel like this Christmas is a little bit normal,” said Finkbiner, when asked about what reaction he’s gotten from people who are experiencing this unusual event in an unusual time. “It just made their kids so happy and they said their kids were talking about it all night.”
“And here was something really cool: They said even though the lines were long, their kids were totally fine waiting, because they were so excited to see all their favorite friends from Christmas,” he added.
One such child patiently waiting her turn to see her friends, like Elsa and Olaf from “Frozen,” was 8-year-old Alicia Curran, who, when asked what she was doing there, held up a can of Cambell’s vegetable soup.
“I believe that helping others is just good and it is just good for the world,” said Curran. “And it doesn’t take any effort.”
“There’s a lot of people out there that are struggling and they don’t have family and friends to support them,” said Alicia’s mom, Tricia. “And we just want to be there to help the less fortunate.”