This year Tabernacle committed to providing Christmas Dinner to 100 of our friends and neighbors who are in need. On the morning of December 19, 2015, about 50 people gathered in the Community Room in preparation for the delivery of 100 Christmas Baskets. A light breakfast was provided, delivery procedures were explained and deliveries began. The process was well organized and everything went according to plan. All of the vehicles were loaded and on the road by 11:00 am, and deliveries were completed by early afternoon.
While the actual event was only a matter of hours, a lot of work and planning occurred long before the deliveries. Things start in October when we begin getting requests for Christmas Baskets. This year we changed the procedures to have all calls for requests go to a designated phone. Thanks to Priscilla Kinchen and Jerry Spiller for taking the calls and filling out the request forms. Requests are recorded and reviewed before accepting the requests. Then, all to receive the baskets are grouped by location into delivery routes and maps made with directions for each route.
Days before delivery, everyone who is on the list is called to ensure there are no address changes and to be sure someone will be home to receive the baskets the day of delivery. Trying to contact 100 people is a big task, but this is necessary to ensure smooth deliveries. Thanks to Jane Denzler for making the calls.
Non-perishable food is picked up the day before delivery in order to pack the boxes, perishables (turkey, eggs, and milk) are picked up on the morning boxes are delivered. Thanks to Bill Gradwell for getting the boxes and picking up the food. And, thanks to all who helped with the packing. Much of the canned goods in the baskets was from the Richmond Concert Band who contributed approximately 1200 items of food.
Only then are we ready for the deliveries. It is easy to explain the process in words but very hard to describe the atmosphere and feeling that day. This report is filled with thank yous because it takes a lot to make this event happen. It could not take place without the volunteers’ time and money. Cost of the Christmas Baskets was just over $4500. Enough money was raised to cover all of the costs with a little left over.
Saturday morning was fun and busy. We had children, young adults, and not-so-young adults helping to make this a great experience. I never think of this ministry as delivering food. I think of families at their tables on Christmas, sharing a meal that they would not have had without the efforts and generosity of members of the church we call Tabernacle. Someone made the exclamation, “WOW 100 baskets.”
I think of the WOW as how God has provided us with the resources and people to do this worthwhile ministry. As it says in 1st John 3:17-18, “…let us not love with word or tongue, but in deed.”
Many of the people who received baskets also come to the Food Pantry. These are people who are just getting by. This ministry is another example of helping and sharing our love for Christ.