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On December 12-14, First Baptist Wentzville and the HOPE Food Pantry partnered with LINC for their annual Christmas Store. Individuals, retail stores, churches, Toys For Tots and community groups donated new unwrapped toys for boys and girls ranging in ages of birth to 18 years. Families that had an emergency need were able to schedule an appointment for one of the three days for their own shopping experience. A loveable “elf” was there to greet them upon their arrival and played The Annual Christmas IQ Test with them until it was their turn to shop. 

    

Each shopper was accompanied by a personal shopper (one of the many volunteers) who walked through the store with them while they made their selection. This gave the volunteer and shopper an opportunity to connect on a personal level. The volunteer had an opportunity to discuss the real meaning of Christmas and share the Gospel message of Jesus Christ with them. 

Because of all the generous donations, shoppers were able to select seven gifts for each child and additional smaller items to be used as stocking stuffers. Because of the kind donations from the Solid Rock Preschool our families could also then select a winter hat, gloves and scarf for each of the children. 

A new addition to the Christmas store was the idea of giving back. After all the gifts were selected, shoppers were encouraged to write a note of thanks to all who donated and, if they had the means, to make a small donation of their own to support the Crisis Nursery. 

Because of the generosity of the community, 222 children were blessed with a bountiful Christmas. Additionally, gifts for 100 more children were sent to a government agency that was unable to secure gifts to cover their requests for assistance. 

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140 struggling families will have a homemade Thanksgiving meal thanks to the selfless volunteers from FBCW. Both the givers and the receivers were in high spirits on Tuesday evening November 22 as FBCW handed out un-cooked packaged dinners. They included a frozen turkey, with all the fixings for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

The outreach event is more than just addressing hunger in the community; volunteers say they hope to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ to those in need. The church feels called to feed the hungry, and pray for everyone who comes to get the free items.

This event reminds those that volunteered as a community, they are all one. It’s important to always remember that God has been good to them and blessed them, which allows them to be a blessing to someone else.

This is the 11th year the church has provided free Thanksgiving meals to the community.

Additionally, on Saturday November 19 FBCW opened up its doors to a record breaking crowd for the annual HOPE Thanksgiving Dinner. HOPE Pantry volunteers and children's ministries offered hospitality to the clients from the Pantry with serving them dinner and waiting on them throughout the evening. Twenty-five gift baskets containing household items and food were given away that evening.

Finally, FBCW will be involved in a Christmas Store to be held at the LINC Community Center December 13-15.

The Christmas Store exists to provide new toys at Christmas to children in low-income families by engaging volunteers in meaningful community service.

Following the instructions of Jesus, the Christmas Store is designed to help families in this area who are in need during the holidays. There are many families who do not have adequate resources to purchase gifts for their children at Christmas time. They find themselves struggling just to “make ends meet” with the necessities of life. Additionally, there are many other people in this area who have abundant resources. They find themselves wanting to help their neighbors, but do not know what the need is or how to help. The purpose of the Christmas Store is to bring those two groups together.

If you care to participate in giving gifts for the store or volunteering your time, please contact Kathy Thompson at 636-332-5127 ext.222

 

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