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Russellville Dream Center holds annual Christmas to Remember

It certainly has been a Christmas to Remember, as vehicles packed Franklin Street in three lanes trying to reach the Russellville Dream Center. The Dream Center handed out 30,000 pounds of food, along with clothes and toys, Saturday.

The Dream Center held its annual Christmas to Remember in 2020 fashion, with the entire event in a COVID-19-friendly drive-through format.

“With COVID, we decided to do something a little different and keep everybody safe for our community, for our church and just for the people,” said Russellville Dream Center Director Shawn Reathford.

The event was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., but vehicles began lining up as early as 8 a.m. In total, the Dream Center saw 158 cars – 221 adults and 149 children.

“Our heart is community outreach,” Reathford said. “When people leave here, we want them No. 1 to know Jesus Christ, but we also want them to know there are people here who care about them.”

The City of Russellville blocked off streets to allow the Dream Center to line up cars. Cars traveled down Cotaco Street before forming three lanes down Franklin Street and turning on Coffee Avenue.

After registering through the food bank, cars were sorted into lanes, and a worker directed traffic to ensure each person was seen.

Each child received one toy, and families received bags of clothes donated from Walmart. Each family also received a box of food, with all food coming from the North Alabama Food Bank and community partners, such as the Walmart in Russellville and Publix in Muscle Shoals and Florence.

”If there are 100 cars lined up, and there’s two people in a car, you have to think about how many people that is in the community that are struggling or are hungry,” Reathford said.

Each box contained frozen hams, turkeys or chicken to give each family enough for a Christmas meal. Reathford said there was enough food in each box to last seven to ten days.

“This is what it is all about for us,” Reathford said. “We love being able to help families have a great Christmas and helping people out.”