Helping Out for Christmas

Each holiday season, there are no shortage of ways to lend a helping hand to those in need both at home and abroad. Here are a few great ways to give back in Jesus’ name this year.

Urban Youth Impact Christmas Store
Last year, Urban Youth Impact’s Christmas Store gave away 7,800 toys to over 600 Palm Beach County families and 2,000 children, provided 800 bags of groceries, fed lunch to 1,700 people and distributed 2,000 items of clothing. As the goal is to serve even more children and families this year, volunteers, corporate sponsors and donations are needed. Visit the website or call 561-832-9220 for more information on how you and your family can get involved.

Operation Christmas Child
Samaritan’s Purse’s annual Operation Christmas Child (OCC) is an affordable an effective way for every family to make an impact. Simply fill a shoebox (your own box or an “official” OCC one) with age and gender specific toys, school supplies, personal hygiene products, etc. Drop it off at one of several authorized local collection centers where Samaritan’s Purse will then ensure that your box or boxes reach needy children in developing nations. This year, Operation Christmas Child anticipates surpassing 100 million children served since the initiative began in 1993.

Russell Life Skills & Reading Foundation Christmas Program
Founded in 1998 by former Miami Dolphins linebacker Twan Russell, the Russell Life Skills & Reading Foundation (RLSARF) offers free after-school reading and life skills programs to inner city children in Broward Miami-Dade counties. The foundation serves over 1,000 children every year, and seeks to bless each child with toys for Christmas during their annual Christmas program in the month of December. Donations of new, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at the RLSARF office located at 5400 S. University Drive, Suite 506, Davie, FL 33328. Call 954-921-3787 for more information.

Angel Tree
Angel Tree is a Prison Fellowship program that connects parents in prison with their children through the delivery of Christmas gifts. In most cases, local church volunteers purchase and deliver gifts and the gospel to children in the name of their prisoner-parent. With a cost of only $20 per child reached, Angel Tree is an affordable and impactful way to share the love of Jesus with a hurting family this Christmas. Comprehensive information can be found on the ministry’s website, or by calling 800-55-ANGEL

4KIDS Gift of Hope
4KIDS of South Florida reaches thousands of children in the foster care system each year. Children removed from their homes have all kinds of practical needs. So do teens and young girls in a crisis pregnancy. You can help bring them joy this Christmas with a Gift of Hope. Your Gift of Hope could provide a teddy bear or a football to a young child or perhaps a new outfit for a girl who left all of her clothes behind. You can give a teenage mom a soft blanket for her baby or help send a young adult on a missions trip. Find more information online or call 954-979-7911.

It can be extremely easy to allow yourself and your family to get wrapped up the consumerist, “all about me” spirit of Christmas. The best antidote to selfishness is selfless giving. In the words of Jesus himself, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Give sacrificially this season and you are sure to be blessed by the joy you experience in serving others.

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