"We're a church without walls," McDonald said about her nonprofit organization, Woven. "We bring church to the streets."
McDonald was speaking Saturday at the South Highland Community Center, where Woven, which stands for “women of virtue evangelizing nations,” was hosting its second annual holiday youth empowerment event. McDonald, the organization's president, said the event was a way to bring a little Christmas cheer to kids who might not get a whole lot this time of year.
"We go to the poor communities, where other people are afraid to go," said Veronica Davis, the vice-president and prophetess of the group, while setting up a Christmas tree in the community center's gym. "For a lot of these kids, they won't get to have a Christmas day."
Although it was an empowering event, with motivational speakers and information for improving health and promoting growth in the community, the event was more about just spreading the holiday spirit. Kids who showed up Saturday were greeted with musical performances, door prizes and donated Christmas gifts.
Although the group didn't get quite the turnout of 300 or so it had hoped for, it did hit all age groups, with young children through teenagers participating at the community center.
"We have gifts from 0 to 19," Davis said before things got underway Saturday. "Because we help kids through high school."
Besides offering games, gifts and food, Saturday's four-hour event doubled as an information session. Representatives of groups that sponsored the event, including the Talladega County Health Department, Sarrell Dental and Kohls department store, distributed material about health and development.
McDonald said the group’s members hope to host a similar even in the community before next summer.
Staff Writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.