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By Cynthia Haggitt
Christmas is around the corner and with that thought in mind is the 2021 holiday season going to be a struggle for your household? The members of the Indian Creek Church of Christ would like to invite you to participate in the annual Angel Tree Ministry for Christmas. Last December, 62 families and over 130 children received Angel Tree donations.
“The purpose of this program is to help families who may be struggling with providing holiday gifts for their children. We hope each family can celebrate God’s blessings without feeling strained by budgets or expectations that can accompany the holiday,” Angel Tree Coordinator Lori Mortland said. “The progam started over 20 years ago. My mother in law was the elementary school cook and noticed when kids would come through the line needing clothing items, asked them what they wanted for the holidays, and loved helping people whenever she could.”
Mortland explained that all her mother-in-law effortsgrew from there as a ministry of the Indian Creek Church of Christ.
“When she passed away in 2018, the church family and the community embraced it and look forward each year to continuing the service for local families,” Mortland said. “From clothes and bedding to toys and treats, our goal is to ensure each child is able to enjoy the magical season of the birth of Jesus.”
Mortland mentioned that gift donations are given to the Angel Tree mission. Last year, she said much of our money went towards providing food baskets for each family.
“This year we will not be providing these because of the St. Vincent DePaul organization that manages the food pantry in Calhoun and has food assistance options year-round,” Mortland said. “Monetary donations are greatly appreciated as well. These are used to purchase stockings for each child and additional items for tags as needed in households. There is an ‘Angel Tree’ account available at the Bank of Kampsville or donations can be mailed to Angel Tree Ministry, 697 N Kritzville Hlw Rd, Batchtown, Ill., 62006.”
“One of the greatest needs is usually warm clothes or coats and bedding. We try to ask parents if coats are needed as they register children to ensure that is noted for each child needing one,” Mortland said.
“We don’t specify the types of gifts. Families provide sizes, their needs, wants and donors can select which items they’d like to contribute. Donors can select as many tags as they’d like to fulfill. This can be anything from an individual child to an entire family of children. I have some families and groups that pull together to purchase gifts for an entire family of children,” Mortland said.
“As long as each child’s tag has packages returned in its place, the donors can coordinate however they’d like. Once packages are delivered to the church, we will add name tags and ensure each child within a household has a similar number of total packages,” she explained.
Tags will become available around Nov. 21 this year. These can be picked up at local banks and in the lobby at the Indian Creek Church of Christ in Hamburg. Donors can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook Message Lori Mortland to request a tag if visiting the locations isn’t convenient.
“This program makes it possible for parents to breathe easily about the stresses of the holiday and children to see packages under the tree on Christmas morning. Last year’s donation program was very successful and they are unable to list everyone without missing someone, so please know that every single anonymous kindness makes this program possible every year and led it to grow into something beyond all expectations. It is our honor to help those who need assistance this holiday season,” Mortland said.
This program also helps in celebrating God’s blessings without feeling overwhelmed by the extra strain on budgets and expectations the holiday brings.
“Any child under 18 years (or in high school & 18), living in Calhoun County is eligible. If your family would like to be included among this year’s recipients, The deadline for families to enroll as recipients is Friday, Nov. 12. We’d like to remind parents to get their information to Michelle Krysl at 618-576-2341 ext110 email@example.com or call 618-576-2341 to submit their information before the deadline, “ Mortland said.
She also said that it is important to please be prepared to provide the following for each family which includes:
■ A contact name
■ Phone number or address, email (if available), child names & ages.
■ Please be ready to share the following for each child included: gender, sizes (shirt, pants, shoe, coat), clothing items needed, other needed items, wants/likes, favorite colors and anything else you’d like the donor to know.
“Pickup date will be on Sunday, Dec. 19th from 12-2p.m,” Mortland said. “ Items will be labeled with childrens’ names, packed in unmarked bags or boxes and available for you to pick-up from Indian Creek Church of Christ in Hamburg. Previously, each family has also received a food basket and each child a filled stocking. It is our intention to do the same this year.”
For more information you may also contact Lori Mortland (Angel Tree Coordinator) with questions at 618.535.9480 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“May God bless you this year and always,” Mortland said.