For more than 30 years, Christmas Baskets have been a part of the Advent and Christmas season at Kingston UMC. Each year we partner with other churches and agencies in Roane County to provide Christmas food to families and gifts to children who are in need. By working together, we are attentive to the financial resources available to us so that as many as possible are served during the Christmas season. The goals of this collaborative effort include working to avoid duplication of assistance in order that more might be served. This joint effort reaches more than 300 families across the county with approximately 75-80 families being served by Kingston United Methodist Church.
In addition to individual donations, this ministry at Kingston United Methodist church is primarily funded by: a “Christmas in July” event on July 4, a dinner and auction (both live and silent) in October, and proceeds from Wednesday evening sales at the KUMC Clothes Closet.
Church members have the opportunity to purchase gifts for children whose names and gift wishes are placed on our “Tree of Love” as well. The KUMC Clothes Closet is also open on the day of distribution so that those receiving baskets can get free clothes for each member of their family members. Each family has the opportunity to select a hand-made quilt provide by “The Quilt Ladies” who make quilts all year and provide them not only to KUMC but to other agencies who serve those who can use the warmth of a quilt in the winter.
Many volunteer hours make this ministry what it has become today. Even before the food baskets and gifts are given in December, much time goes into the planning and preparation for Christmas Basket distribution. Lists are compiled, names are shared with churches, gift tags are made, boxes are taped together, food orders are places, cards are sent, phone calls are made, and it goes on and on. At the end of distribution day those who have helped with this ministry know that they have made a difference in the life of ones who have come through our doors.
34 “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. 35 I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. 36 I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’
37 “Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? 38 When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear?39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’
Matthew 25: 34-40