The Los Angeles Dream Center celebrated another year of miracles this past weekend during their annual Night of Dreams on Saturday, Sept. 28. This year's event included many moments of reflection on the past 25 years of service to the people of Los Angeles. And they are pleased to report a record-breaking achievement—raising nearly $2 million for the residential programs they offer at their 555-bed facility in the former Queen of Angels Hospital.
A live auction took place on Saturday, with co-founders Pastor Tommy Barnett and his son Pastor Matthew Barnett inspiring guests to give with the needs of the people of Los Angeles in mind. In just one night they were able to raise a majority of the money needed to fund their residential programs for an entire year.
The evening was filled with inspiring stories from individuals and families whose lives have been radically transformed as a result of the work that takes place at the Dream Center. Many of the staff that have been involved since the beginning gave an account of the growing impact they've been able to achieve since the Dream Center first opened its doors in 1994. Several faithful donors were in attendance as well, many of whom gave tearful and passionate speeches throughout the evening. The celebration also included music and comedy, with a special performance from "Heavenly Joy" of America's Got Talent.
"What a memorable and joyful weekend it was for everyone at the Dream Center," said co-founder Matthew Barnett. "I can't thank our community enough for the faithful support and generosity that has led this dream from 25 years ago to become a reality. And the additional generosity we witnessed throughout this past weekend has left me speechless. What an amazing, miracle-working God we serve. I know every penny raised will drastically change the trajectory of thousands of lives for an eternity."
Over the course of 25 years, more than 46 million pounds of food has been distributed throughout Los Angeles by way of the Dream Center, and more than 8.5 million people have been served through their outreach programs.
Angeles Temple, the church affiliated with the Dream Center, began the 25th-anniversary celebration with a Thursday evening church service. Recalling the moments that inspired the Dream Center's founding, Pastor Tommy Barnett told the congregation, "All we had was a dream. That's really all we had—except—we had God. And when you have God, you have everything."
Pastors from across the country, many who have been involved since the Dream Center's inception, came by to celebrate as well. They helped raise a large portion of the nearly $2 million that came in throughout the weekend. Pastor Matthew thanked the many pastors who have supported him and his vision throughout the years, including several from ARC (Association of Related Churches). Dino Rizzo, Executive Director of ARC, also spoke Thursday evening, emphasizing that the LA Dream Center is "a model" for what a church should be and for the thousands of ARC churches around the U.S. "We don't want to plant a church unless we want to plant a Dream Center," said Rizzo.
The Los Angeles Dream Center offers assistance to homeless and impoverished families, victims of human trafficking, prisoners, foster children and individuals fighting substance abuse addiction, among others. They also offer residential programs, housing hundreds of individuals year-round at their campus. The Dream Center provides free personalized care, mentorship and counseling to each resident, with the goal of helping each individual secure employment, independent housing and continue in their education and personal growth.
In the years since the LA Dream Center opened their doors, 84 independent 'Dream Centers' have since begun similar programs in cities all across the U.S. and internationally as well.
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