Youth group gives Christmas gifts

Published 4:20 pm Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Youth members of Grace Chapel in Alabaster worked diligently all year to ensure they stayed ahead of the Christmas shopping game.

In fact, the youth put the final touches on all the presents they purchased for Operation Christmas Child by early October.

“It has inspired our young people to want to give more every year,” said Pastor Dwight Joyner. “Just from the joy of seeing kids receiving something they may never have had or would ever enjoy.”

The young church members aimed to fill 100 boxes, and they surpassed that by one.

They included toys, gloves, small blankets, flashlights and personal grooming items for kids living on continents all around the world. Joyner said the presents are shipped to Atlanta before going out to kids in Africa, Samaria and Asia.

The church became involved with Samaritan’s Purse 14 years ago. Ever since, the project has grown.

“Even some now have turned right around to get ready for next year by preparing to buy things at after–holiday sales,” Joyner said. “They really never stop.”

The youth don’t focus on giving only to their peers, but to others in need of a cheering up. The group assembles Buckets of Love, as well. The kids collect items like lotion, bath wash, socks, applesauce and candy to fill pails for patients at local nursing homes.

Church members assemble 150 of those buckets and personally deliver them. Youth pastor Shane Joyner heads up the bucket project.