Insights & Information

Hoops of Hope

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A throwback toy is bringing laughter and smiles on Winston-Salem streets this summer.

The Hula Hoops gifts were the latest community project by youth from Radiate and The Crossing youth ministries.

Emily Austin, 12, made four Hula Hoops for the project. Her favorite part? Decorating them with brightly colored duct tape.

“I loved helping,” she said. “Making Hula Hoops for the kids was a lot of fun. I enjoy making a difference in people’s lives.”

Chris Smith, assistant to Youth Pastor Toby Pegram, organized the Hula Hoop project.

“We’ve worked very closely with the City Lights Ministry in Winston-Salem for some time, and were able to make and donate Hula Hoops to nearly 40 children and put a smile on each of their faces by giving them a toy that will last for years,” Smith said.

“Each of these Hula Hoops showed these families that someone cares for them with the love of God.”

Volunteers with City Lights mainly delivered the gifts presented in the name of Jesus Christ but Susan Marra of Triad Baptist was able to go along and see their impact in person.

“I took my sister-in-law, Ingrid, and her friend, Kristen, to deliver them to City Lights,” Marra said. “I thought I was just going to pass them off to Jessica, the City Lights leader, but the apartment complex where they were being delivered had a fire so the fire trucks were still there when we arrived. So Jessica pulled out the music, and we gave them out and played with the kids and adults alike in an impromptu Hula Hooping party. I taught three grown men how to Hula Hoop!

“We had never made Hula Hoops for City Lights before. This was so much fun!” 

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