Separate churches unite for Christmas gift

Tamaria Riddick sees her new bike for the first time.
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Standing in a circle, holding hands and singing Christmas carols is exactly how the congregation of Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in Alexandria chose to start its Saturday. Except the group wasn’t alone. They were joined by another church family, Homewood Baptist Church, to help celebrate the holidays and help the Cenla community.

“We decided we could help more people by working together,” said Jimmy Koonce, Senior Pastor at Homewood.

“That’s what Christmas is all about” added Isaac Walls, a deacon at Pilgrim Missionary.

The two churches worked together to give out bikes to children in need of Christmas presents.

Tamaria Riddick’s eyes lit up at first sight of her brand new bike. For her, it’s a much-needed gift at the end of a particularly trying year. Shortly after the loss of a grandfather, her family’s house caught fire while Riddick was still inside. Although she escaped unharmed, the family lost everything in the fire.

Through it all, however, Riddick said the church has been a huge blessing. “The church has given everything to me. I can’t thank them enough.”

Tamaria’s mother Shemeka was fighting back tears at the sight of her daughter’s happiness.

“I promised myself I wouldn’t cry,” said Shemeka. “That made my day. It makes up for everything.”

The Riddick family weren’t the only recipients of gifts. When questioned what his thoughts on his new bike were, one child said “I’m just thankful for what I have.”

It’s that reason the two churches worked together. The goal was simple: make the spirit of giving something these children will never forget.
Sort of like riding a bike.