West Side Church Spreads Holiday Cheer to Family Impacted by Gun Violence

For the past 30 years, the pastor of People’s Church of The Harvest COGIC and his wife have tried their best to make Christmas a little brighter for kids in the community

A church on Chicago's West Side is making a difference this holiday season by helping families impacted by the pandemic and gun violence.

On Saturday, church members and others in the community came together to spread some holiday cheer to 11-year-old Lorenzo Matthews and his brother, 12-year-old Michael Smith, after a difficult year.

“I’m still appreciative,” said Cierra Mobley, the boys' mother. “A year has almost gone by, and people still have us in their hearts.”

People’s Church of The Harvest COGIC, 3570 W. 5th Ave., and other groups and organizations presented the boys with new bicycles and gifts for Christmas.

“We want them to know that the community loves them,” said pastor Michael Eaddy. “We are praying for their successful future because these are our best and brightest.”

Mobley's sons were among five people injured in a shooting in January at a barbershop on Chicago's West Side.

"Barbershop in the community that I even frequented," said Ald. Jason Ervin, who represents Chicago's 28th Ward. "I've sat in that same chair to get my haircut. That could have been me."

Chicago police held a town hall meeting in the neighborhood after the shooting and received information leading to the arrest of a suspect in February.

“Only thing I could say, I have to be strong for my boys, and it will be a year in January,” Mobley said. “I still have dreams about it. I’m just still happy and thank God that the kids are still here with me.”

For the past 30 years, Eaddy and his wife have tried their best to make Christmas a little brighter for kids in the community.

Over the decades they have helped hundreds, if not thousands of families, and this year is no different.

“This is our way of saying to the West Side - 'West Side alive, West Side we believe in you,'” Eaddy said. “We believe in our young people, we believe in their futures.”

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