Helping Tender Hearts Caring Hands Make a Difference at Christmas
For over 10 years, Tender Hearts Caring Hands, a benevolence program of Ministry Village at Olive, has reached out to partners in the community to find families who need an extra hand at Christmas. “We contact the guidance counselors at area elementary schools – Ferry Pass, Montclair, Navy Point, Warrington & Bellview – and they each select 3 families in need from their schools,” explains Kathleen Schuster, Director of Tender Hearts Caring Hands. Kathie has managed what she calls “Adopt a Family” at THCH every year, and she works tirelessly to make sure each family feels the love of Jesus.
The guidance counselors help Kathie with information from each family selected. They send details about the family members and a Christmas wishlist of special items for each child in the family. Kathie has members of Connection Groups from Olive Baptist Church who she works with each year to provide for the families, and she is passionate about finding the right match for each one. “As I receive the names and family information, I pray earnestly that the Lord will guide me to the right matches. Our Connection Groups are generous and caring, and every year, the Lord sends the right people to us for each family.”
In a normal year, the Connection Groups would take the family’s wishlist and then purchase, wrap and deliver the items themselves. But 2020 is no normal year, so Kathie planned for the necessary adjustments. “This year, due to COVID, I felt compelled to handle the process myself, just to make it safer and easier for our donors to participate. So, those with concerns simply donated money toward the purchases and I am taking care of the shopping. There have been a few groups who still opted to shop, wrap, and deliver the gifts themselves, and that has certainly been a blessing.” Ministry Village volunteers and the ladies in the Charis House are wrapping the gifts this year to help spread the workload and the cheer. Gifts will be loaded into Kathie’s sleigh (her merry minivan) to be delivered the week of Christmas.
Tender Hearts also partners with Lowe’s on Airport as well as Five Flags Sertoma Club to organize Christmas meals for the families. They create generous baskets full of dry goods and perishables – all the fixings needed for Christmas Dinner – and the Lowe’s Staff and Sertoma Club members deliver the food items and bring some joy at Christmas.
Ministry Village and Tender Hearts Caring Hands is thankful for the many volunteers and donors who support the Christmas Adopt a Family program each year. Thank you to Lowe’s on Airport, Five Flags Sertoma Club, and each Connection Group and supporter who makes someone’s Christmas wishes come true! Thank you for blessing our community!
🎁 Want to help? If you would like to take part in this year’s THCH Adopt a Family, you can donate financially toward the gifts and food needed. Candy and stocking stuffers are also needed. Contact Kathie at (850)475-1118 or by email at KSchuster@ministryvillage.org, or drop off your donations at the Ministry Village office – 1716 E. Olive Road, Monday through Friday, 8AM to 12PM.
✝️ The mission of Ministry Village at Olive is to put the words of Jesus into action throughout our community – “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40, NIV) If you are looking for a place to demonstrate kindness to others for the glory of God, give us a call. We have opportunities through the Bargain Center; at our Tender Hearts Caring Hands benevolence program and food pantry; through the Most Excellent Way addiction support groups; at the Charis House; and at the Ministry Village Early Learning Center. Visit our volunteer page to signup, or call our office at 850-473-4466.