About Toys For Joy

Happy boy holding a police car toy


The Rock Church partners with schools, businesses and community organizations, as well as local churches to coordinate the Toys for Joy Christmas Event. Toys for Joy seeks to impact the lives of children by providing a toy and food for their family combined in an event that ministers in both a practical and spiritual way. Over the past 22 years, served over 166,900 children and their families, annually gives out 21,000 toys, and 60,000 pounds of food.

The Rock Church, known for its service to the community, annually gives out 25,000 toys and nearly 80,000 pounds of food to our San Diego families working hard to make ends meet every day.

McPherson is the author of "Do Something! Make Your Life Count" and "The Third Option."

"Currently 1 in 5 children face food insecurity in San Diego County, according to KidsData.org."

The annual early Christmas event, Toys for Joy, celebrated it's 22nd year in 2018, three locations, serving over 14,000 children and adults. Last year, people waited in line as early as 12 PM the day before. Over the years, guests have endured rain and wind to ensure that their children will have presents for Christmas.

Nearly 19 percent of San Diego County’s children are living in poverty, according to KidsData.org.

Two girls smiling
Happy girl riding a bike
“There are thousands of people standing in line and it is a slow walk."

remarked Miles McPherson, founding pastor of The Rock Church and visionary behind the event. 

"People in the community that we hold it in will stand in line for hours and hours, all day, to get a toy and they have their kid out there,”

The outreach event requires the help of over 3,100 volunteers from several area churches who will help provide meals, clothing, and groceries to people in the community that come. Toys for Joy began over two decades ago in partnership with Victory Outreach Church in San Diego. At that time, The Rock Church did not exist, and it was Miles Ahead Ministry that spearheaded the event.

McPherson recalled that the church and his ministry wanted to use the Christmas season to reach more people for Christ. They noticed that people would sit in church to hear the Gospel and then afterwards go out to buy toys or a Christmas tree. So during the early days of Toy for Joys, organizers gave away toys and Christmas trees only.

“It was a way to conveniently bless them and give the Gospel to them at the same time,”

McPherson said.

Smiling girl holding a toy cooking set
Happy girl holding a toy baby doll

The event continues to include an evangelism factor, with a Gospel message as the first area that attendee's experience.

“More than ever, people need to step up and help those who are in need this year,”

said McPherson. 

“Christmas is a time when God showed His love for us, and we’re ready to show God’s love in the communities where we live and serve. That’s the purpose of the church.”

The Rock Church is San Diego’s largest church, the 20th largest church in the United States as well as one of the most diverse. Pastor Miles McPherson, a former NFL player, started Rock Church in 2000. Each Sunday, over 22,000 people attend the Rock’s Sunday services at five separate campuses, microsite locations and watch online. With almost 150 active ministries, the Rock has donated over 2.3 million hours of community service estimated at a value of over $38 million of social services over the past 10 years.