D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - Many shoppers at the Walmart in D'Iberville got a surprise Christmas gift Saturday. Members from New Life Family Church took to the parking lot for what they called a love invasion.
"Our goal today is to let people know that God has not forgotten about them," said the Rev. Jeff Ulmer.
He has been hosting love invasions for several years now. He said this year was the biggest turnout yet.
"We want everybody to experience New Life, and so it's part of our DNA to just share what we have with whoever we meet. This is kind of the perfect time to do it in a greater way," said Ulmer.
He and dozens of members from the New Life Family Church came together to surprise shoppers. They handed out $3,000 in Walmart gift cards, and around 500 hot dogs.
For church members Constance Rush and Rebecca Jones, this kind of giving is exactly what Christmas is about.
"I think it sticks to the true meaning of Christmas, which I think a lot of people have forgotten about," said Jones.
"You know, our doors are open and we're accepting, and we're willing to be here to meet the needs of our community," said Rush.
The annual event has been a success for several years.
"It absolutely has worked, and it's been awesome," said the pastor's son, Jeremy Ulmer.
He came up with the idea at a men's prayer meeting. He said it's a way for his church to live out the message it preaches.
"As we go out and just kind of wrap our arms around our community, and we really received more than we passed out," said Ulmer.
New Life Family Church holds numerous love invasions throughout the year. Ulmer says this time of year, it's especially important to let people know that God has not forgotten about them.