A local church is making sure thousands of residents in need can celebrate the holidays. NY1's Shannan Ferry tells us all about it.
The holiday spirit was in full swing at the Greater Allen AME Cathedral on Monday.
Thousands of people lined up to receive free presents at the Church's 2nd Annual Christmas on Merrick celebration.
"I'm gonna get a present!" said one kid.
For the event, Merrick Boulevard was transformed into Santa's workshop with volunteers handing out gifts.
"I have seven kids, and this is helpful to me because I can't afford the toys that they have," said one attendee.
Organizers say that in Jamaica, 9% of residents are unemployed and that makes it even more important for them to step up during the season of giving.
"Although we may not be blood family, we consider our community family...we just want to serve them," said organizer Rodeena Stephens.
Two truckloads worth of food were also donated to the church and distributed to attendees.
"My income is not very high and I struggle sometimes, so everything helps," said another attendee.
Queens native and hip-hop artist LL Cool J also stopped by to wish Queens residents a Merry Christmas.
"You know, the holidays aren't a happy time for everyone in America, so I think it's very admirable and honorable that the church wants to you know give back to the community," he said.
Coordinators say they'll continue to giving back beyond the holiday.
The Greater Allen AME Cathedral distributes more than 110,000 meals to families in need annually.