Ministry Director Sheldon Livesay said Christmas for the Children (CFTC) served 1,250 Hawkins County children via 32 separate parties, 17 of which were hosted by local churches.
However, that total number of children served by CFTC was expected to exceed 1,300 by the time some later contributions were distributed. That’s more children helped than any other year in the history of the program.
Livesay said in a recent press release that CFTC Director Jennifer Kinsler offered thanks to the many churches, mission groups and businesses that sponsor children and provide a party for their families to make Christmas a joyous time for everyone in Hawkins County.
“Christmas for the Children was one of the first programs started by Of One Accord when it was founded 32 years ago,” Livesay said. “Kinsler, who works October-December taking applications and then finding churches to help provide sponsorship of programs, feels relieved as Christmas parties finalize and the children are served.”
The Georgia Baptist Appalachia Ministry will be delivering more Christmas backpacks, which will be passed on to youngsters, increasing the number of children served by the end of the year.
There are a lot of groups responsible for making CFTC a success in 2019.
The Angel Tree Foundation provided a cash gift for the program; Americans Helping Americans provided shoes, winter coats, and blankets; the Pajama Ministry and WCQR provided more than 1,000 pair of pajamas; and the Carrollton Baptist Association provided 1,120 backpacks with contents valued at $75 each.
“A host of local groups provided gifts or donations also,” Livesay said. “Serving 1,100 children with gifts and clothing valued at $75 each amount to nearly $80,000 and could only be done through the involvement and support of our entire community,” Livesay said.
While the program is about gifts and children, Kinsler noted that 78 people had received Christ through the CFTC program this year as well.
Aside from the CFTC program, Of One Accord was also busy in December preparing for its Christmas food box program, which served more than 1,300 families.
Of One Accord’s annual Christmas Dinner Distribution was held Dec. 19 at the Shepherd Center, with vehicles lined up along Washington Street in Rogersville as far as the First Baptist Church awaiting the 9 a.m. starting time.
Cherokee NJROTC cadets helped direct traffic, and Ryan Blackwell brought his youth group from the Rogersville United Methodist Church to load boxes in cars and trucks.
“We always look forward to coming and being a part of this distribution,” Blackwell said. “It’s so rewarding to insure every family will be able to sit around the table on Christmas with a delicious traditional Christmas dinner.”
Each box contained canned vegetables, mashed potatoes, stuffing, dessert mix, rolls, and other fixings for a traditional holiday meal. Recipients also had their choice of a ham or a frozen turkey.
“This is our favorite time of year,” Livesay said. “Besides the boxes distributed in Rogersville, another 500 boxes were sent to Church Hill, where a similar distribution took place. We love Christmas and we love being here to serve.”
Livesay thanked local residents who provided donations permitting Of One Accord to purchase the items for each box and for Americans Helping Americans, which provided funding to purchase nearly 400 turkeys.
“Even with donations from a variety of sources, the ministry still has about $20,000 in the distribution, Livesay said. “Another 200 boxes were distributed during Christmas parties bringing the total number over 1,300 and the actual value of all the boxes distributed is close to $65,000.”