Spirit of Giving: Through A Volunteer’s Eyes
Several local churches, businesses, and community members acted as the hands and feet of Christ on Saturday, December 17th, 2011, giving away food goods, new and gently used toys, clothes, and household items, and even cases of diapers at the annual “Spirit of Giving” giveaway held in the parking lot of First United Methodist Church. 2,000 to 3,000 were expected, and while there is not yet an official count of just how many people showed, it seems as though the crowd met expectation.
Hundreds of people and volunteers arrived on the chilly morning before 8:00 AM. Citizens were served free hot chocolate, cookies, and chili dogs as they enjoyed local musicians perform Christmas carols and worship music on the steps of the church and waited in line for tickets. Each person was issued four free tickets, and the tickets could be redeemed for one item inside the giveaway. Bibles and diapers, however, did not require a ticket. The actual giveaway started at 11:00 AM and was cleared out by 1:00 PM.
This was truly a remarkable event. It was awesome to see the community come together, and through God, meet each other’s needs. It really exemplified how God provides where provision is needed and makes a way for that to happen. I even have a personal testimony to share. I had the blessing of working at the toy station, and after all the toys were given away, a young mom pushed a little boy up in a stroller and asked if there were any toys left. My heart immediately broke as I told her, “No,” but out of the corner of my eye, I saw a little teddy bear tucked away, and I got to hand it to the little boy and his happy mother. Moments later, a few other little tots came over asking if there were toys left, and again, my heart broke. But, as I looked around, two other bag of stuffed animals appeared, enough for each one to have two. As I handed them out, one mother ran over with her baby in a stroller and asked if there were any rattles. And, when I opened a bag, there lay a rattle. And people say miracles don’t happen. This event was nothing less than miraculous.