By Chris Frost
Oxnard—Dove Christian Ministries hosted "Oxnard, Together as One" Aug. 31, which was a celebration of love, Christian Faith, togetherness and people helping people.
Attendees enjoyed Spanish and English stages with different varieties of music, a resource fair, free haircuts, free clothes, backpacks stuffed with school supplies the kids can use at school, plus a kid's zone area with a dunk tank, raffles games, and prizes, plus a free lunch.
Event Founder Vincent Serrano IV said the group started the 805 Peace Rally in 2010 and went to each neighborhood where someone was shot, or there is poverty.
"This is the evolution of that," he said. "We want to incorporate the churches, the city, police officers and different resources," he said. "You see the Salvation Army is here, and Interface are here. We are coming together as one in our city and having a good time."
He does it because he loves God and the City of Oxnard and his neighbors.
"The planning group included three organizations: Lending a Helping Hand, Outsiders Brand, and Vision Supply," he said. "We came together and partnered with Dove Christian Ministries, who are letting us use their property. Today, we probably have around 50 volunteers working."
He enjoys spreading the good news from Jesus Christ.
"We also want to meet needs," Serrano said. "If someone gets a haircut, that might put them back on their income. Buying a backpack might mean one less meal. We're here, and we care."
Frank Carreto from New Life Community Church brought his brother over to give haircuts to the children who need them, and he was quite busy throughout the day.
"He's putting in his time, and it's a blessing to the community," Frank said. "As a church, we come together as one. There are a lot of churches coming together today to be a blessing for the community."
He loves seeing kids happy.
"Today we are going to be giving away backpacks," he said. "They're going to be going home with everything they need for school. To see their smiles, it brings joy to my heart."
School supplies, he said, are a blessing.
"A lot of these people are low-income people," he said. "The moms and dads, only one of them are working. They don't have the finances to go to the store and buy what they need for their kids."
People who need help are welcomed with open arms.
"We do the food pantry, so we have food," he said. "Let's say you need clothes; all you have to do is come to the church at any given time, and the doors are open to the people, especially people in need. We make them feel like they're home."
Dove Ministries Pastor Lou Rogers loves partnering with his fellow Christians and reaching out to the community.
"We have bibles in English and Spanish at our table," he said. "We offer English as second language classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced for free. If people need to learn how to speak English, they can come to sign up and get a flyer. We'll call them and set up an interview to see what level they're at."
Being a part of the churches that sponsored the event is critical.
"Just like it says in the bible, we're all one body," he said. "I can be a hand, but I need a foot in order to walk. As the different ministries come together, we are able to reach out to the people in a more appropriate fashion."
Rogers has been a drug addict and homeless, and he says there is a better path.
"Later on in my life, I realized one thing, I am either going to die or live," he said. "I wanted to live. "The only way to live is with Christ in your life."
451 West Fifth Street
Oxnard, California 93030
1000 Town Center Drive
Oxnard, CA 93036
(Walk-in & Drop-off)
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.