GraceWorks Manger and Christmas Programs Serve Over 1,600 Local Children
GraceWorks Ministries’ Manger and Christmas programs served 1,652 children and 678 families last week.
From December 14th through December 17th, GraceWorks offered 7 sessions for families to come and “shop” for gifts for their children. Throughout these sessions, families shopped for their 1,011 children! These parents and caregivers left with 5 gifts, 2 stocking stuffers, 1 book, and 1 stuffed animal per child, plus a board game for the family, wrapping paper, and a special ornament. Gifts were free, but families did often choose to pay a $5 love offering for their children’s gifts. This shopping event was held in the sanctuary of Franklin First United Methodist church.
In addition to the Manger shopping program, GraceWorks partnered with Holy Family Catholic Church to distribute food and gifts to 204 households and partnered with Saint Philip Catholic Church, Saint Andrews Lutheran, and Saint Ignatius Orthodox Church and to distribute 144 food boxes to families.
Valencia A. Breckenridge, CEO of GraceWorks shares, “I sit in awe and gratitude to our community. Your generosity is inspiring! So many of you chose to support our Neighbors who need a hand and some hope this Christmas. Thank you for trusting GraceWorks to dispense this incredible love for your Neighbors!”
Here are just a few quotes from Manger moments from last week:
A father who was hearing impaired came to shop at the Manger for his four children. His wife was still in the hospital after having their youngest baby. He video called her to help, and a GraceWorks Board Member followed him around to hold his bags and help him. This father left a handwritten note from a father who is hearing impaired who came to shop at the Manger, “Thank you for your help and patience. God Bless You!”
A family of four came to volunteer at the first session. As they left, a GraceWorks staff member said “Thank you for your help!” The mother replied, “I will be back tomorrow!” Assuming she meant to volunteer, the staff member said, “Oh thank you! You were a big help.” The mother replied, “I am scheduled to shop tomorrow. We just wanted to give back to this program that has helped us so much!” That mother came back the next day, not only to shop, but stayed to volunteer as well.
A young man came to volunteer to get hours for school. He was very helpful and polite. When a staff member asked how he learned about the Manger, the young man shared, “A few years ago, you helped my family get Christmas presents when we were in a tough spot. I knew I wanted to come and volunteer here!”
A single Dad of one son was looking at the book section closely. He asked a volunteer if we had any Bibles. The Dad said, “I’ve been trying to set a good example, taking my son to church and letting him see me read the Bible. My son asked for a Bible the Christmas!” The church had a perfect Bible for his teenage son.
We received a note from a Neighbor who received a Holy Family Catholic Church delivery that said “Hello, good morning, first of all let me thank each and every one of you who do this beautiful work of supporting the families who have less. We are very grateful for all your love, support and understanding. May God multiply all that they do for us, that this Christmas the child Jesus continues to bless their homes. I do not speak English, I am using a translator I do not know if this message says a little of how grateful we are in my home, the only thing that I can say is: thank you thank you thank you and God bless you. Merry Christmas to all.”