St. Louis, Mo. (KSDK) -- Christmas came early for about 2,000 people in North St. Louis Saturday thanks to the big religious convention happening downtown this week.
It was the annual Christmas in November, which is sponsored by the Church of God in Christ.
"It's very helpful for me because some things I can't afford to get," says Stella Rogers.
"I have two kids," adds Lanette Tolliver. "I go to school full time. I just got a job. So it does help out."
People lined Union Boulevard and Martin Luther King Drive across for Christmas in November. There were clothes, 1,500 bags of groceries and more than 4,000 toys to give away, as well as free health screenings.
"Many of the people here on today are homeless. Some of them are living in vacant homes. Most of them walked with a shopping cart to carry their things home. Most of them would never get a blood pressure test or a checkup," says organizer and first lady of Williams Temple Church of God in Christ Shirley Wooten.
This is part of the Church of God in Christ Holy Convocation, which has been at America's Center all week. More than 40,000 people are in town for the convention, but church leaders say they're here for a higher calling as well.
"...When we come into a city, we have to really connect with that city at its foundation and we have to make an impact socially because in every city you go to there's people with needs and issues and our ministry, that's what it's about," says Bishop P.A. Brooks.
"We wanted to reach the inner city...those that would not perhaps press their way to the convocation at the America Center," Wooten says. "But yet we're bringing the gospel to them...the good news of Jesus Christ. And also meeting some of their natural needs as well."
Once they got through the crowd, the people there were grateful.
"It helps out a whole lot. Because right now I couldn't afford to buy anything because I didn't have a job. So this right here is Christmas in November," Lanette Tolliver says.
"I think it's wonderful. The way things are going now, we need a little help from here, there, everywhere...wherever we can get it from we need it," says Rogers.
She tells us she's thankful to God for the help.
The Church of God in Christ funded Christmas in November. On top of this, they've done other community projects including a job fair, and a cleanup effort. When it's done, it's expected that the convention will have pumped more than $35 million into the St. Louis economy.
It ends Sunday evening at the Edward Jones Dome.