Thousands pack Citadel Stadium for Christmas party

Rebecca Lamb (WCIV)

by Stacy

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Jesus's Birthday Party at the Citadel Stadium had all the makings of Christmas cheer and anyone could come.

"To see a family wait in line for a long time to get a gift and a meal, it makes me think this is something we really need," Pastor Gordon Cashwell said.

It's the third year Cashwell has thrown the party on Christmas day. Kids got presents{}like bikes and even some socks to warm their feet. Last year was the first year Cashwell held it at the Citadel Stadium, he said.{}He expected around 3,000 guests in 2012.

Tawanda Davis was one of the guests. She brought her two young children and said they may not get food or gifts otherwise.

"It's hard for the holidays for people who are working and people who are unemployed. I think it's wonderful to come out here with kids," Davis said.

David Nekrutman was another guest. He{}flew to New York from Israel on Sunday and{}then drove 12 hours{}to Charleston.{}Nekrutman directs the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation. He and Cashwell have a sort of exchange program. He said Cashwell has visited his center in Israel and he returned the favor.

"We actually put our words and deeds together. Gordon asked me to come. My fellowship with him means if it's important to him, it's important to me," he said.

They wanted to bring people of faith together, in the holiday spirit.

"As a person coming from Israel, merry Christmas to everyone," he said.{}"Enjoy the holiday season. Hopefully the joy you experience now should be a blessing in people's lives," Nekrutman said.

"I want to say thank you for letting every body to come out," Davis said.

Organizers are already planning next year's event. They said it would take place again at the Citadel stadium. If you want information{}or to get involved, visit this link.