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Joy Ranch Christian Home for Children in Woodlawn brought its 50th anniversary Jubilee Year to a close last weekend with a live Nativity scene on the campus at 813 Joy Ranch Road to thank the community for its support.
Cottages were decorated with lights and attendees enjoyed free coffee, hot chocolate and Christmas cookies while viewing a collection of hundreds of Nativity scene decorations.
Visitors could drive through the campus, stopping at stations along the way to hear students act out parts of the Christmas story. Visitors took on the role of pilgrims traveling to Bethlehem, and students dressed as shepherds, wise men and angels. Some played innkeepers telling travelers to keep moving because there were no vacancies. The driving tour ended with a live Nativity scene in Joy Ranch's barn, featuring horses and a donkey.
The event was part of Joy Ranch's "Gift of Hope" Christmas campaign, which seeks donations to help with the home's needs. Gifts of $100 or more are being matched by an anonymous donor, in an effort to eliminate past debt by the end of 2011.
"Just as the wise men brought gifts to the baby Jesus, faithful friends of Joy Ranch are giving the gift of hope by helping us continue to make a lasting difference in the lives of children in crisis situations," said Brent Carrick, development coordinator for the children's home.
Joy Ranch, founded in 1961 by Richard and Mary McHenry, has been home to more than 5,000 children.
• To learn more about Joy Ranch or to participate in the Gift of Hope campaign, go to www.joyranch.org.