DEL NORTE— Just days before Christmas on Dec. 22, many families from the Del Norte area gathered at the county annex building to participate in a community outreach program. The churches in and around the Del Norte area have spent the last several weeks collecting donations for the event in hopes of providing some Christmas cheer to those who may otherwise have gone without. The community event room at the annex building was adorned with toys and tables laden with canned foods for participating families.
A line of people stretched the length of the building by 10 a.m. as volunteers from several area churches helped each family inside collect some holiday spirit. Each family could take one toy per child and a paper bag full of canned goods so that they may have a decent dinner on Christmas day. “We are very pleased to be able to offer this service to the community and even though there isn’t much, we are happy to be able to give it away. We are also sending people to the local food bank to get more food if they need it,” said Gateway Church Pastor Greg Schaffer.
Schaffer was only one of several volunteers there to help that day. Volunteers from Gateway Church, New Life Church, Pioneer Church, Cornerstone Community Church and Holy Name of Mary Church lined the aisles to help parents and children choose which items would be best for their families. There were four tables set up full of every kind of toy a child could imagine and were separated into gender and age groups for to make the process easy on parents.
There were also tables were full of canned goods, non-perishable items and everything a family could need for a holiday feast. People could enter the east side doors one family at a time and gather their goods. Several families hugged and thanked volunteers with tear-filled eyes, showing the amount of gratitude, they felt for the alliance.
The outreach program is not the only thing the Ministerial Alliance has done this holiday season. The group also gathered to collect more toys for families in need and held a gift wrapping party in early December. The gifts were then delivered just before Christmas to families that signed up for the service. They also pulled together to purchase Kevlar vests for the Rio Grande Sheriff’s Department, which will be delivered sometime in January. In addition, the group held a joint Christmas Eve mass at the Gateway Church in Del Norte which was very well attended.
Thanks to the generous spirit of areas churches, families that were down on their luck for the holiday season were able to experience some joy.