Los Angeles charity holds drive-through Christmas celebration after facing potential coronavirus closure

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A Los Angeles charity was able to hold a drive-through Christmas celebration with lights and presents over the weekend because of concerns about social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

The charity, LA Dream Center, posted footage of the event on its Instagram.

Presents displayed at the L.A. Dream Center (L.A. Dream Center)

Pastor Matthew Barnett, who leads the Dream Center, previously told Fox News he planned to hand out presents, food, and bicycles at the event. 

The event almost didn't happen because Los Angeles County officials allegedly sent the Dream Center a notice telling them to shut down operations. Some residents at the Dream Center hospital had tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting a quarantine within the building.

Barnett claims the county was happy with how the center handled the issue but sent them the notice days after visiting the site.

Bicycles L.A. Dream Center (L.A. Dream Center)

After receiving the letter, Barnett took to Instagram to let the community know he wouldn't be able to host a Christmas gathering because of the county's order. Within just hours, Barnett claims, the county reversed the decision.

The county did not respond to Fox News' multiple requests for comment.

Barnett's event came as the county and state of California imposed controversial restrictions on residents and business activity. 

From the beginning of the pandemic, Barnett said, he saw a dramatic increase in people requesting assistance.  

"I don't think we're going to recover for a long, long time," Barnett told Fox News, referring to the city. "The policies have hurt the poorest of the poor. There's absolutely no doubt about it." 

He said the pandemic restrictions brought the city to an incredibly difficult spot.

"I've never seen a city more terrified — I think when the messaging is over and over … don't do this, don't go here," he said. "It puts a layer of unbelievable fear into people and just terror."

 Barnett said that at times he wanted to leave, but remained committed to staying and helping residents.

"There're times, I'll be honest with you, after 26 years, I just want to leave … because there's no way in the world you can operate in this constant oppression," he said. "But then I see the people come through the line and I just can't quit on them … I know that I'm kind of called here for life."

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