Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Spirit of Christmas

For the last 4 years, I've been involved with a team that handles the Giving Tree. Under my friend, Susan's, leadership, we've been able to provide gifts through our church's generosity to 30-50 needy families each year.

This year was one of our largest years ever. I think there were about 150 presents provided - a clothing choice and a toy choice for each child (who is only identified by a code on the ornament that providing families pull off of the tree). The best experience of the whole thing for me is the day that we all get together and disburse the presents.

The presents are stored in a closet - hauled in there after each service when the families return the gifts. On "disbursement day", we take over a hallway on the 3rd floor in our church and lay out the presents to correspond with the family's code number. Then, each member on our team sits down with the family's presents that they were responsible for calling (and determining what their children would most want) and figures out if all of the presents were provided.

My role in this whole operation is to create the labels for each of the ornaments, so I rarely get direct contact with any particular family, but rather - have an overview of it all. So on this "disbursement day", I'm kind of the "catch-all" person - I brought the treats and Christmas music - and did the calling on the additional gift cards to see how much would be available for purchasing gifts that never got returned. This was probably the best year so far in terms of the "return rate" from the congregation. There was a huge need, and it was provided for - Praise the Lord.

This is a shot of the closet, with about 50% of the presents already disbursed.

Susan, the one who works tirelessly on this operation, is on the left - and then Steph H. and Christy.

Our youngest member of the team - Miss Kallahan. This is Dawn's sweet little girl - I can't believe how big she's gotten since we bonded through last year's Bible Study.....

Kallahan kept herself amused in the wagon we used to move the presents - and even decided to wrap herself up in a gift bag......

These are two of Dawn's other daughters, Alicia and Morgan.

A final shot of Kallahan and myself - I was so delighted she let me hold her - and even offered her lollipop for me to lick.....(which I politely declined).

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