Erica Miller didn't know what to expect when she brought her three children to Operation Augusta Cares at the Wilson Family Y on Wheeler Road on Saturday.
"I just heard about it yesterday," she said. "It's really nice."
Most of the 140 volunteers who put on the event represented three churches -- The Quest Church, Aldersgate United Methodist Church and St. Mark United Methodist Church, according to Jack Kenney, the event chairman. Other churches and organizations also were involved in the effort.
This was the second year the event has been held.
"It went so well last year. We had such a great turnout," he said.
More than 900 family members attended in 2007, and he said he expected the final tally to be least 1,000 on Saturday.
Many area businesses and individuals donated money or in-kind gifts for the event, he said.
"Organizations donated about $12,000 cash," he said.
Some of the money was used to purchase gift cards for door prizes for the families.
At the event, families had use of the Family Y's water park and could participate in a variety of games. Magician Michael Gilliland made balloon sculptures and performed two shows.
There was an inflatable slide as well.
Allison Fuller attended last year's event while her husband, Staff Sgt. Carlos Fuller, was deployed to Iraq with the 67th Signal Battalion. The entire family was able to attend this year.
"It makes me feel good to know people care. It's a time when we need people to understand how we feel," she said.
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