Families, volunteers celebrate 'Birthday Party for Jesus' at The Citadel

Families, volunteers celebrate 'Birthday Party for Jesus' at The Citadel

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - More than 4,000 people celebrated Christmas at the Citadel's Johnson Hagood Stadium Friday.

Families began lining up before 4 a.m. to receive the good food and good presents from volunteers.

"I got a selfie stick and a phone and I was really happy," one gift recipient said.

Organizers called the celebration a huge "Birthday Party for Jesus."

MOBILE USERS: Click here for photos.

"We envision if it was truly Jesus birthday, then the party would be about him. And for it to be about him, it's about other people," Gordon Cashwell, one of the event's planners, said.

The stadium's bleachers were packed with people, who listened to the Word of God, as they waited for food and gifts.

"It's awesome. This is my first time. I'm enjoying every moment of it," Quintella Robinson said as she watched her sons playing with their new footballs.

It took organizers close to a year to plan the party and 1,000 volunteers made it all possible. Clothes, blankets and toys poured into donation piles for local churches to give. Full stomachs followed full hearts with more than 100 turkeys, trays of mac 'n cheese and all the fixings topped with dozens of desserts.

Cashwell helped plan today's event, spending the morning away from his own family.

"I love doing this, because I love to see people happy," he said. "We don't even think of us as a group of volunteers and guests, we think about it as a big party where we're coming together."

For volunteers, it is realizing that it's better to give than receive, while saying thank you to the greatest gift of all.

"Christmas is not only for presents. But for serving the one that created us," Robinson said.

Copyright 2015 WCSC. All rights reserved.