Columbiana United Methodist spreading Christmas cheer with Skillet Bird drive

Published 4:39 pm Wednesday, November 8, 2023

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By Rebecca Brooks| Staff Writer (Special to the Reporter for freelancers) 

COLUMBIANA – Columbiana United Methodist Church’s long-standing tradition of the Skillet Bird Christmas Project is returning for the Christmas season.

The Skillet Bird Christmas Project began with its eponym, Skillet Bird—a beloved Columbiana man who often spent his time collecting money to help provide Christmas gifts for families in need.

In his honor, the Luther Fowler Sunday School class started the Skillet Bird Christmas project after his passing in 2002. The program works with local Columbiana, Wilsonville and Shelby County schools to identify families in need for the holiday season.

“Our program directly impacts children in our community,” said Samantha Foster, the Christmas fund organizer. “Many of our families do not know how they will provide Christmas for their children without the assistance of Skillet Bird. The church is able to continue outreach in our community through the project.”

The Skillet Bird Christmas project is a year-long fundraiser, working toward the goal of earning monetary donations to provide shoppers with gift cards that help purchase Christmas gifts for families chosen.

Shoppers are members of Columbiana United Methodist Church and are provided with special wish lists from each child.

As the outreach continues through the year, donations are collected at schools, and pledges are given by church members.

“CUMC believes that community outreach is a vital part of our church’s mission, and this project is one way to do that,” Foster said of the church’s initiative to help in the community.

Skillet Bird’s act of kindness started a program that has made considerable impact on families in need.

“Christmas is my favorite time of year and being able to help provide Christmas joy to other families is one of my favorite things about the holiday season,” Foster said. “I love to see how willing people are to shop for families in need. It’s such a blessing to be a part of this organization.”

Last year, Columbiana United Methodist served 56 families, and more than 130 children.

For those looking to donate, the church accepts checks to CUMC with Skillet Bird noted on the check.

Those looking to volunteer or assist the church during program Christmas hours, can email Foster at The Skillet Bird Christmas Fund is an annual fundraiser, and Columbiana United Methodist Church hopes to continue to inspire and assist families in Skillet Bird’s honor.