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Gift of Love offers Christmas for families in need

On Saturday, First Baptist Church will host its annual Gift of Love event for local families. 

For the fourth year, the ministry will help parents provide Christmas gifts for their children this year. 

“We have families who are referred to us from counselors in the school system,” said coordinator Beth Smythe. “They come in and shop for Christmas.” 

The families pay a small price for each Christmas gift, depending on how much each gift costs when bought. 

“It gives them the ability to be able to come in and pick out items for their kids,” Smythe said. “It gives them the dignity still because they are providing for their families.” 

After the parents or guardians are done shopping for their children, they are taken to another room where a church member will wrap the gift. The gifts will then be put in a bag so children can’t tell what’s inside in the car. 

While parents shop for Christmas items, the children do the same in a separate room. 

“There’s no charge for the children to shop,” Smythe said. “They get to pick out a present for their mom, dad, grandma or whoever resides in their home with them. Then, the children are taken to another room to help wrap the presents for their parents.” 

While the adults are finishing up shopping, the children get to also create a gingerbread house.  

The giving doesn’t stop at shopping though. 

“We take them to our gymnasium when they are all done and give them hot chocolate and Christmas cookies,” Smythe said. 

“They also get a family picture made because a lot of these families have never had one made.” 

More than 100 volunteers have been preparing the past few months for the 60 families, including 125 kids, who are registered. 

Smythe said that the church flew in a specialist from Colorado, who had overseen a similar event at their church for approximately 10 years. 

“We wanted this to be a mission outreach for our community,” Smythe said. “We didn’t want to just do a free for all for the families. We want them to have dignity to know that they helped provide Christmas for their family. To say, ‘I purchased that, I had something to do with getting the gift.’”

When the families leave the church, they are also handed a goodie bag filled with hot chocolate, popcorn, candy canes, a Christmas book and also a schedule for FBC’s events. 

“It’s just a really great time to love on them and show them Christ’s love throughout the day,” Smythe said. 

For more information, contact Smythe at giftoflove@fbclagrange.org.