Members helping with the effort include (from left, clockwise) Sandra Fulcher, Barbara Collier, Janice Mays, LeShai Brawner, Janie Collier, Susan Pollard, Johnny Hazlewood and Violet Harding.
The Women’s Missionary Union (WMU) from New Home Baptist Church in Martin had been contributing to the international mission Samaritan’s Purse until group members realized there were equally important needs aching to be met in their own backyard.
Thus began their project of putting together a Christmas store to supply the holiday needs and wishes of needy families in the area.
Now, in its second year of operation, the store is getting set to help seven families with 17 children, ranging in age from eight months to 12 years, have a much merrier Christmas.
Linda Stockton, a member of New Home’s WMU, explained the entire church helps contribute to the project with a canned food drive and clothing and food contributions.
“We’re provided with a list of the needy families and we have an angel tree with certain needs written on paper angels and placed on the tree.
“This year, all 17 angels were taken and that means all 17 children have been sponsored by someone in the church,” Stockton said.
In a special night service on Dec. 3, each family will have a decorated table complete with the items purchased from the angel tree plus a sizeable portion of canned goods. The families will then be fed by the church and then the children will be taken into a craft room while their parents are escorted into the Christmas store to select gifts for their children and have the gifts wrapped.
“Each table will have a ham, five pounds of potatoes and a portion of the non-perishable canned goods all set out. We ask for the cans in our church bulletin and keep an updated tally. Nov. 30 is the cutoff date,” Stockton said.
The greatest need is for children’s toys and, preferably, new ones that haven’t sustained the wear and tear of play over the years. Stockton said it’s amazing to see the faces of the children as they gaze on their new toys and clothes.
“When we were helping with Samaritan’s Purse, we didn’t know where our packages were going. We wondered if we could help more by staying local. We’re a Missionary Baptist Church and we wanted to keep our mission right here in Weakley County,” she said. “The biggest blessing comes for us workers seeing the kids just light up as they receive their gifts,” she added.
“Last year, someone admitted she’d never had a tree before. When it was all over last year, we sat down and couldn’t believe what we’d seen and experienced. The parents were much more worried about making sure their children had enough than themselves. Last year, we started a new adventure and it was very successful.”
The church is located on New Home Road outside of Martin.