The Storyteller Tells a Story of Faith…
Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” KJV
Christmas. What glorious pictures that conjures in our minds – angels, a bright star, wise men, even shepherds and sheep, but mostly the Holy Family nestled snugly in a loving family group. As much as we would like to think that everyone’s Christmas is full of these same pictures, life is just not that way for many people, especially some children. There are those who are preoccupied with getting enough to eat, having clothes to wear, or even where to lay their heads at bedtime. Some may not think of Christmas in the same idyllic way others do. Their life is hard. Most believe in the birth of Jesus, and even celebrate it, but certainly not in an extravagant way. Jesus understands. He was not born in a castle with servants, lots of food and money. He was born homeless to a humble family with very little means of its own. Yet they were happy. Many times they relied on the kindness of others. And for our children who don’t have enough food and warm clothing, that’s what they must do also.
In 2012, some members of the Barnitz Church recognized there were children at North Dickinson Elementary School who didn’t have enough food and warm clothing. There was a giving tree in their school that included gift suggestions for those in need. However, they found that some names and gifts were not taken. So the group, inspired by an experience Bill March (B) had when he was teaching, began taking care of the gap. Bill relates, “The school district where I taught for many years had a ‘closet’ that was established to meet the needs of students and families in the community. It provided clothing of all kinds, school supplies, and even furniture to those in need. Individuals, businesses and churches in the area donated all of the used and often new items in the closet. The original closet idea came from a parent who had just moved to the area from a district which had an established closet. I wanted to try doing something to meet the needs of children and families at North Dickinson Elementary. Though we couldn’t do it on such a large scale, we found a way to meet some (of the) needs just the same. Our project focused on clothing needs primarily. We have purchased coats, hats, gloves, scarves, boots, sneakers, slacks and jeans, shirts and blouses, pajamas, underwear and socks, and even baby wear. We have provided for children of all ages by including siblings of children who attend the school.” The children don’t know who gives the gifts, but they are thankful for them none-the-less.
As usual, a big obstacle in doing this kind of work is money, but people are generous especially when faced with some dire needs for children. Bill says, “The missions committee has been instrumental in keeping the project going. They have provided the funds for the most part, through church giving or direct donations to the missions committee.” He adds, “At first, members of the missions committee and helpers did all of the shopping, wrapping and delivery to the school. Each year we have been trying to involve more church members in donating or perhaps buying needed items. We hope to expand this more in the coming year. From year to year, there can be an increase in the number of needy families. We will certainly try to meet the needs of as many children as we can.”
To be sure, the school and the children and their families appreciate the love and concern that has been shown on their behalf. “We hope to continue to offer to help meet the clothing needs of the students and families at North Dickinson Elementary. We will continue to offer help with school supplies and clothing throughout the year. So far, our help is mostly needed at Christmas, but we will continue to offer,” Bill says. And just possibly, the children and their families will be able to put their energies into celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ instead of trying to figure out when they will get their next meal.
II Peter 1:5-7 “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.” NIV