God is good, and we would like to thank you once again for your continued support during our annual Christmas Outreach Program. This year, we sent out a survey to organizations we provide gifts to and asked for their stories of impact, and we wanted to share some of them with you. Together, we can positively impact underserved youth in our area and connect them to Christ.
How were children’s needs met through the Christmas Program?
Due to the pandemic and unemployment status of many families, we were in dire need of coats and boots this year. Through generous donations of these items, this need was met.
Many families in the program needed basic hygiene items and clothing. The Christmas Outreach Program is especially crucial to single parent households struggling to make ends meet.
Both children and parents were overjoyed by the quality and the quantity of gifts that they received. As the gifts were delivered, the importance of Jesus in Christmas was emphasized. These children genuinely did make the connection between their beautiful gifts and the Baby Jesus.
Share a story of a child or family that was impacted.
One family that received gifts has been struggling financially due to the ongoing pandemic. The grandmother is a beautician but could not work for several months. She has custody of her grandson who received a kidney transplant and absolutely could not be exposed to COVID-19. Her decision to limit exposure and protect his health limited her finances and she was unable to purchase gifts this year. That is where we stepped in. With the assistance of God and GFAGC her grandson received gifts this Christmas.
Another child received a coat among his gifts. Once he opened it, he exclaimed, “wow, a new coat! Now I don’t have to wear your old coat.” He is a year younger than his older brother, and many of his clothes are hand-me-downs. He is ecstatic to receive NEW clothes to wear.
A different family has been living in a hotel and doing the best they can. They have six children, all girls, and they are going through these challenging times together. We gave them a huge food basket to help, along with the other gifts. The mother was overwhelmed by this generosity and thanked us profusely.
How does gift distribution connect or improve your relationships with the children and families?
One church said that the program offers hope to the children in foster care by letting them know that they have not been forgotten. The families are most appreciative to know that they are supported during a time when many people feel the most financial strain.
Everyone involved feels significant and their self-worth is enhanced through the generous efforts of this ministry. They feel connected and enjoy the inclusive atmosphere.
More youth attend Sunday School and relationships between children and adults have improved. They have increased faith in God and hope.
How do you reinforce the Christian message while distributing gifts?
One church told us that they intentionally reinforce the Christian message to the youth by relating the program to how Jesus cares and gives to those in need. They also discuss how Jesus never stops giving spiritual gifts, and that we should replicate the same type of giving with our time, talents, and finances when applicable.
Another church said that they invited all children who received gifts to participate in their weekly virtual Sunday School. 85 of these children also received a virtual Sunday School bag so they could participate in the first Quarter of 2022 (January through March). They use this time to share Christ with the children.
Many other participating churches will include Biblical messages about the meaning of Christmas with the distributed gifts. Messages from pastors are also included, welcoming the children and their families into the church family.
If you would like to learn more about the specific impact of the 2021 Christmas Outreach Program, be sure to check out this article here. You can also click here for our 2021 Christmas Summary that highlights our generous contributors and grateful recipients.
We would like to thank the following churches and organizations for their feedback and for sharing their stories of impact:
Bethany Christian Services
Bethany Lutheran Church, Detroit
Canfield Church of God
East Bethlehem Lutheran Church
Grace Church of the Nazarene
Messiah Church Detroit
Mount Calvary Lutheran Church
New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church
Pathway To Christ Ministries
Pure Word Missionary Baptist Church
St. Philips’ Evangelical Lutheran Church
St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church