Ohio Lutheran churches team up to help area families

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 14, 2004

At this time of year, looking for Christmas presents can be frustrating, but one Ironton congregation is hoping this "shopping" event will bring smiles to the young and the young at heart.

St. Paul Lutheran Church is sponsoring a "Holiday Gift Giveaway" for needy families in Ironton and Lawrence County from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at 101 S. Sixth Street.

Unwrapped gifts will be arranged on shelves according to age group. Parents can "shop" for their child's present and wrapping paper and gift tags will be available if they wish to wrap the present themselves. Children will also be able to choose gifts for their family members.

Email newsletter signup

"For me and the congregation, I just think it's about serving the community we live in. That's what we feel called to do," Pastor Mike Poole said.

Volunteers will be on hand to help people make their selections and/or wrap gifts.

The one-day event will offer toys and games for children. Refreshments will be served and live entertainment provided by the church's choirs and musicians.

"Our hope isŠfor people to be able to have a little more dignity (in terms of the giveaway)," he said. "They're not getting gifts that are already wrapped. They are actually wrapping gifts for each other. It offers the opportunity for them to feel good about themselves."

Pastor Poole added that the giveaway is open to anyone in need. People are not required to show proof of income, but just come and pick the presents they want.

For those interested in helping, there is still time to volunteer or donate gifts and baked goods to the effort. Although people in the area have been generous in donating, there is still a need for gifts for children, ages 10 and up, as well as adult-appropriate items.

"Everyone loves to give to little kids and we understand that, but the need for older ages still exists," Poole said.

This is the first year for the holiday giveaway, but in August the congregation sponsored a back-to-school giveaway in a joint effort with All Saints Lutheran Church in Worthington.

All Saints will be participating in Saturday's giveaway along with Trinity Lutheran Church in Marion, Resurrection Lutheran Church in Hilliard and Bethel Lutheran Church in Russell, Ky. The churches are helping by collecting items and providing volunteers.

Area businesses that participated include Hasbro Toys, Inc.; Thrivent Financial for Lutherans; Spriggs Distributing Company; Village of Hanging Rock, city council; VFW Post 4931, Hilliard; American Legion Post 614, Hilliard; Staley's Pharmacies; Irving Park Lutheran Church WELCA, Chicago, Ill.; Rock Hill High School Honor Society; Walmart, South Point; Pick & Save Bakery Dept.; Unger's Shoes; Iron City Hardware; STAR Justice Center; Allyn's Jewelers; Bentley Pharmacy; and Tim's News and Novelties. For more information, or to volunteer/donate, call 532-4727.