Our goal this year is to help families from EVERY public school in Madison County!
Project Christmas has long been an important tradition at FCC. I myself have many fond memories of being covered in flour and bustling around in the kitchen, side by side with a dozen or two other youth as we baked all kinds of pies, and snuck one too many ‘taste tests’ of the apple crumb cake topping. The rush of making these hot, fresh pies (and getting to chow down afterward on the oopsie ones that got a little too done), as well as the joy in delivering them to members of our community that purchased them, was both memorable & wonderful. Then there was the shopping- talk about something to see! Two bus-loads of tweens and teens pulling up to Walmart with lists in-hand, filling shopping cart after shopping cart with everything from toilet paper to winter coats. The laughter and fellowship those experiences provided, and feeling empowered that we were capable of making a difference in the lives of others- those are Christmas gifts we didn’t realize that we were being given at the time.
Fast forward a few years, when I was leading the Young Disciples & JYF, we loved visiting older members of our congregation as part of our Project Christmas outing. We would gather the children and a few parents up in the church bus and head to visit Sharlene or Dr. Cox. These visits would lead us to be showered with sweets, homemade cookies, and Christmas ornaments, then we were off to the stores. The kids got to help find toys and clothes for children that were similar in age to themselves. . They loved this and it was so fun to hear their insights and the way they rationalized each choice they made, with more care than I’ve seen many adults take. Years passed, and while helping Mrs. Nordgulen with her great-grandchildren, we got to go shop for presents for the people they selected from the angel tree, bag them up, and bring them to the church. As they got older, they got to participate in making desserts for the Dessert Auction, which took the place of the Pie Sale some years before. To me, there is no more iconic moment that gets me in the holiday season spirit and reminds me that hey- Thanksgiving is merely days away -than hearing Richie Cobb call a bid on someone scratching their ear at the auction. Tasting Pam Grant’s heavenly fudge, the intense competition to walk out of that room with some of the famed Beer Cheese, pies, and cakes that our talented congregation prepares with love for this special event- all good fun with an even better mission behind it! The money raised as the youth showcase the tasty desserts around the room goes each year to support this important ministry.
This year, the Banquet Hall will be quiet that Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving. There will be no bowls of soup to sample at the Souper Supper or bid wars for a Bybee Pottery bowl full of treats. What will happen to Project Christmas in a year when the need is so very great? We asked local schools what the need for gifts and necessities for children and teens looked like- and their response prompted this call-to-action. There are so many still impacted by the economic and business implications of this pandemic, and so many children that typically rely on programs (that are overwhelmed and stretched beyond their means), to get their basic needs met- from shoes and winter coats to something to bring a little joy in an uncertain time. We are challenging our faith community to help support us reach an extra special goal this year- we want to help families from EVERY public school in Madison County! We have reached out to the resource centers and social workers that are connected with these schools and have identified students in need. Due to the challenges that COVID has created, we have had to quickly rethink the way Project Christmas works.
How can you help this year? We are asking our congregation to help us raise $8,000 to help as many families as possible. Anything over our goal will go to help MORE students and families through our program! We are hosting an online Silent Auction (link coming soon) that we are currently taking donations for, and we are asking that our congregation and community help us to raise these funds through online or other donations. Help us create cherished memories for children and teens that have really had a rough time this year, and Shine in His Light this Christmas season.
Peace & Blessings,
Emily Fritz, Children’s Ministry &Tech Director