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Christmas Palooza draws 500 volunteers

Modeled by the Rev. Pastor Jon Larson of Woodbury and parishioner Carol Pressley, the fleece tie blankets from Christmas Palooza will go to animals at the Animal Humane Society in Woodbury and repackaged dog and cat food goes to the Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf. (Bulletin photo by Mathias Baden)1 / 4
Abbey Kennedy of Woodbury takes a cookie for the road after the conclusion of Christmas Palooza was complete. (Bulletin photo by Mathias Baden)2 / 4
Volunteers at Christmas Palooza made 356 snowmen crafts to be used as table favors at the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital. (Bulletin photo by Mathias Baden)3 / 4
More than 350 boxes of personal care items will go to The Salvation Army's Shoebox of Love program. (Submitted photo)4 / 4

Christmas Palooza — "A Party with a Purpose" — drew 500 volunteers on Sunday to King of Kings Lutheran Church in Woodbury.

For the two-hour event, the sanctuary was cleared of pews and replaced by ministry projects in support of local nonprofits.

Jane Halbert of King of Kings described the volunteers as "like cheerful elves... We will be the hands and feet of Christ during this holy season."

People of all ages served side by side to help those in need by:

• making 126 small fleece tie blankets as bedding for the Animal Humane Society in Woodbury;

• sorting toys donated by Woodbury residents, in preparation for the Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf's toy distribution to 630 children;

• repackaging 720 pounds of bulk dog and cat food into baggies for distribution to food shelf customers;

• creating 356 snowman tray favors and writing 561 Christmas cards for guests at Minneapolis Veterans Home and Minneapolis Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center;

• making 2,160 classroom craft project kits for teachers to use at partner schools associated with Linaje Escogido Church, Honduras;

• assembling 2,000 bags of food to be distributed to food-insecure School District 833 kids who use weekend food packs;

• and putting together and wrapping 530 boxes of personal care items for homeless people served by The Salvation Army's Shoebox of Love program.