True Spirit of Christmas
The Giving Tree
Christmas can be a stressful time for families in need. When putting food on the table and keeping roof overhead is a financial struggle, Christmas presents are often luxuries these families can’t afford. Every November, the Social Ministry committee contacts the Flemington Food Pantry and the Interfaith Hospitality Network to get Christmas wish lists from some local families in need. Tags with each child’s name, age, gender, clothing sizes, and a couple of gift ideas are hung on a Christmas tree located in the church narthex, for members who are interested in participating. Gifts are collected several weeks before Christmas and delivered to the Food Pantry and IHN. Every child receives two articles of new clothing and two non-clothing items such as toys, games, books, etc. The axiom “it is better to give than to receive” is really evident in the feedback Social Ministry gets from Zion members who participate in The Giving Tree. Parents share with their young children the joy of giving to others. Empty nesters reminisce about bygone Christmases when purchasing Legos or Barbie Dolls. Through the Giving Tree, we all get a better understanding of the true meaning of Christmas.
Zion’s Senior Baskets ministry started in 2002 when a member wanted to bring a little Christmas joy to the senior citizens who relied on the services of local food pantries. Today, the Senior Baskets ministry is still going strong. Each November, members donate items such as health and beauty products, over the counter medications, scarves, hats, mittens, slippers, packaged cookies and candy, calendars, small gifts, playing cards, postage stamps, flavored teas, hot cocoa mix, and a Christmas ornament handmade by Zion members. The baskets are assembled one Saturday in early December and delivered to the Flemington and Open Cupboard food pantries in Hunterdon County. Last Christmas, Zion members assembled and delivered over 100 baskets.
Giving is Zion’s response to the holiday challenge of what to get the person
who has everything. Instead of another
tie or scarf that will hang in a closet never to see the light of day, why not
make a donation to a charity in honor of your friends or loved ones? Every year, Zion’s Social Ministry Committee
researches and selects five non-profit organizations, both local and
international, with a variety of concerns such as children’s welfare, hunger
relief, environmental issues, homelessness, animal causes, and educational
programs. Contributions range from $5 to
$25. Each gift comes with a card
explaining the charity’s mission and a small handmade ornament intended to
symbolize that particular organization. Alternative Giving runs from mid
November to the second week of December.