Joy of ChristBELVIDERE – The smiles of hundreds of children will soon light up the Evangelical Covenant Church of Belvidere again this Christmas, as they receive toys in recognition of the birth of Jesus at the annual Joy of Christ celebration on Wednesday, Dec. 23, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The Joy of Christ celebration is an outreach to needy children in Boone County that was started by Rev. Don Norek back in 1993, when he loaded the back of his pick-up truck with toys and distributed them to the children living in the apartments behind Dodge Lanes.

Since then, the ministry has grown to serve hundreds of children due to the generosity of Boone County residents who have donated toys and volunteered to help.

Last year over 1500 children, parents and volunteers were on hand for the toy distribution, with 650 children receiving toys.

“This is the fourth year that we are hosting the event,” Pastor Scott Nellis, from the Evangelical Covenant Church, said, “but it really is a community-wide effort. We are partnering with Open Bible Church and First Presbyterian Church, as well as with over 30 businesses and community organizations to ensure that every child in Boone County receives at least one toy for Christmas.”

This year will mark the first time the event will be held since Rev. Norek’s death in August. “Don was a devoted servant of Christ and had a heart for the poor and the hurting in Boone County,” Pastor Nellis said. “Helping people in need was his passion. We aim to continue this ministry in that same spiritwhich Don had when he carried it out.”

New toys for infants and children up to age 17 are needed for this event. Warm hats, mittens, scarves and blankets are also welcome.

Those who wish to donate items can bring them to the Joy of Christ collection points.

These organizations include:

Ace Hardware, Applebee’s, Ashley’s Salon and Spa, Belvidere Physical Therapy, Blackhawk Bank, Culver’s, DiCello’s Pizza, Dodge Lanes, Dollar General, Evangelical Covenant Church, Family Dollar, Fast Lane Threads, Fiesta Market, First Presbyterian Church, Grandma’s Restaurant, Ida Public Library.

Other organizations include:

Jack Wolf Cadillac-GMC, Keen Age Center, Manley’s Ford-Lincoln, Marathon Station in Poplar Grove, McDonald’s, O’Brien and Dobbin’s Snyder’s, Open Bible Church, Pacemaker Foods, Pizza Hut, Shell Station, Shopko, Snyder’s of Poplar Grove, Steam Plant Restaurant, and Tom and Jerry’s.




Parents who wish to receive toys for their children should come with their children to the church (220 E. Harrison St., Belvidere) on December 23. Toys will be distributed between 6:00 and 8:30 pm.


“As you can imagine, an effort like this takes a lot of work,” said Pastor Nellis, “but when you see the smiles on the faces of the kids and know that you have helped to add joy to their Christmas, it’s worth it. That’s what it’s all about. It’s about sharing with these kids that God loves.”

Buy Viagra Overnight Delivery USA.