December 2, 2011 — Most kids expect to see brightly wrapped gifts under the Christmas tree at Christmas. But not all kids experience that blessing.
For nearly 30 years, members of First Christian Reformed Church, Artesia, Calif., have worked to make that sight a reality for more and more kids.
Volunteers at First CRC wrap hundreds of gifts for those less fortunate each Christmas season.
Volunteers from the church work to wrap purchased or donated toys for those in need. On a Friday evening in December, 30-40 people come together to wrap as many as 650 gifts, usually in two to three hours.
“All ages participate, and it is a great night for fellowship; a hearty bowl of chili is served,” said Shylia Boersma, coordinator of the event.
The Artesia-Cerritos Community Christmas Program provides toys to low-income families who register through the local public school. Through toy drives and cash donations, they ensure that everyone in the program is guaranteed a gift.
“The toys are then transported to our church, where it has been our responsibility to wrap them,” said Boersma. Volunteers receive a 3x5 card with a number and information about an anonymous person that enables them to “shop” for that individual from the donated items.
The wrapped gifts are brought to a designated distribution center.
“It is a way to impress on younger church members that many families cannot even afford to buy toys for their children at Christmas time,” said Boersma.