12 Ways Your Church Can Show Christmas Kindness

Sometimes it's the simple, practical ideas that make the memorable outreach impact. Try these …

1. Stuffed stockings. Take a cue from Open Air Ministries Philadelphia and partner with other local churches to distribute overflowing stockings to low-income families in your area.


Each year, Open Air invites elementary students the church normally reaches—as well as other families in nearby low-income neighborhoods—to attend Christmas stocking outreach. Last December, nearly 40 churches contributed 2,500 stockings stuffed with toys, candy and children’s Bibles, and volunteered at nine inner-city locations.


“The stocking outreach is a great foot in the door to the community,” says Joe Toy Jr., evangelist and Open Air’s founder. “It gives us a way to meet our neighbors and then discover what other needs they have so that our ministry can enter their homes and become part of their lives.”


 Through the Christmas stocking outreach, Open Air has grown its ministry to elementary students, bulked attendance at area church plants and fostered relationships with several urban and suburban churches.


2. Christmas tree giveaways. Work with a local Christmas tree lot and school to buy and deliver free Christmas trees. Ask the school and your church to recommend families to receive the trees and a decoration box, including lights, ornaments and a tree topper.


3. Christmas on a Budget. Host a communitywide event called Christmas on a Budget. Feature money-saving tips, creative do-it-yourself gift solutions (Warning: don’t turn the event into a commercial for products) and a financial expert who can answer questions about credit card debt. Ask a family who stopped exorbitant Christmas spending to talk about the experience, how they approached it and what they learned.


4. Global Christmas. Defeat the Christmas spirit of consumerism and host a gift fair, featuring presents you can give to various families and communities in need—locally and abroad. Every Christmas, The Shoreline Church of San Clemente, Calif., hosts “Shops at the Shoreline,” featuring a shopping catalog and booths from ministries around the world.


The church coordinates efforts with global ministries to prepare the catalog, asking how they can partner with them for the holiday season. More than 20 ministries were represented in 2008. Shoppers can purchase everything from a cow for a family in a Third World country to gifts for local Birth Choice centers.


Each year, The Shoreline raises several thousand dollars to support global ministries.


5. Airport shuttle. Airport parking fees can sometimes amount to as much as $100. Offer holiday travelers free shuttle service to and from the airport. Ask families to sign up in advance and enlist a coordinator to track reservations and pickups.


6. Christmas camp. Offer free childcare to your community on Friday and Saturday nights—prime times for company Christmas parties and holiday shopping. Organize a crafts station where children can create homemade gifts for their families and friends.


7. The joy of Christmas. Help families stretch their holiday dollars by providing food baskets and children’s gifts. For 14 years, St. John’s Episcopal of Wake Forest, N.C., has served families in need with its Joy of Christmas packages.


In September, the church provides school guidance counselors registration forms to distribute to families perceived to be in need. The families are encouraged to complete the forms and return them to the church. St. John’s members and guests then coordinate to provide and deliver Christmas gifts for each child in the family, a holiday meal, grocery store gift cards and pantry items.


“Some of these families have a tough time making ends meet or are unable to purchase gifts for all their children,” says coordinator Carolyn Stoklas. “Through this ministry, families who would otherwise be stretched with hardships during Christmas find blessings instead.”


8. Fido-sitting. Encourage people in your church to offer free pet- and house-sitting services to their traveling neighbors.


9. Holiday taxi. Provide Christmas and New Year’s shuttles to those returning from holiday parties. Distribute fliers at area clubs and other party venues and encourage organizers and bar tenders to send a text message when a ride is needed.


10. Free firewood. Help cut utility costs and secure permission to give away cords of firewood outside local grocery and home stores, as well as Christmas tree lots.


11. Mall Christmas. Rent out space at your local mall and host your own Christmas shopper outreach with free gifts, fun activities and free holiday portraits. Encourage shoppers to use the photos as inexpensive Christmas gifts for relatives or as Christmas cards. Set up tables and chairs for a relaxing environment and invite guests to attend your Christmas services.


Vineyard Christian Church of Flushing, N.Y., was previously near a heavily trafficked mall, so the church rented out mall space one Saturday in December for a concert and other holiday entertainment. Gradually, a crowd gathered to listen to the music, watch a short drama and sign up for a raffle for Christmas gifts. The church also offered free coffee and tea, free holiday portraits and children’s activities.


The raffles and photos were, by far, the most popular attractions, says Community Outreach Coordinator Jordan Chao-tao Wu. As a result of the mall festivities, a few guests that day attended Vineyard Christian’s Christmas services.


12. Packages for the troops. Contact the United Service Organizations to send packages to troops serving overseas. Fill each package with necessities and comforts from home: cards and letters of thanks, phone cards and a Bible.

Find more Christmas outreach ideas »

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From Outreach Magazine  Real Hope for Real People: C3 Church


  1. The Top Three iPhone Job Searching Apps to Find your job

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  2. As gentrification escalates in Calif

    SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. The search party pulled out of a McDonald’s parking lot, an accumulation homeless men and women and their advocates squeezed into VW station wagons and old SUVs. They sought a patch of land or a spare structure, A place any place where dozens of people might live online.

    The cars passed neighborhoods of two story homes along a ridgeline with views of the pacific ocean surf and then wound through a business park. They stopped next to a field of knee high grass that the guide warned was against the rules because of rattlesnakes.

    No bus line runs here, And the next grocery is a hilly two mile walk. the only real virtue of the one acre lot was that, While people work in the border tech warehouses, No one actually lives at all near here.

    “We need our own area without people have around, Jennifer Juarez, Who has been clinically determined to have schizophrenia and has been homeless for years, Said as she surveyed the park. “But here? i’m not sure,

    That this remote lot is even a temporary housing option for some of Orange County’s 5,000 homeless people speaks to the growing compassion fatigue that California is confronting. overwhelmed with the slow pace of politics and demanding immediate, path level action, Residents in the wealthiest counties along California’s coast have been agitating for a solution which much more involves pushing homeless people out of sight.

    new jersey Mayor Eric Garcetti (deb) Recently named it “finest moral and humanitarian crisis of our time,

    disease A outbreak among homeless a byproduct of California’s housing crunch]

    current weeks, Local governments from the northern city of san diego to here in Orange County have cleared out homeless camps, Some of them years old and long considered public safety and health concerns. The regions have little in common politically but share a attribute: terribly expensive housing, which in March reached record highs in Orange County.

    Ashley instill, 23, Who has been homeless for many years, Fixes her bicycle along the Santa Ana River Trail last month. Foster lived along the trail until earlier this year, When hundreds of homeless people and their encampments were pulled from the trail. (Philip Cheung/For The miami Post)

    In the centers of cities, Tent encampments have become their own local communities, Often within areas that had been remade with public money and private investment.

    deaths surge amid opioid crisis, Extreme weather condition, growing housing costs]

    lots of state’s cities are thriving. But the gentrification that is taking place along the coast has made it far more troublesome for local governments to afford housing options for those without homes. countless homeless people, Now marooned in wealthy urban local communities, Have tested the patience of new locals, might possibly spent small fortunes on the condos and townhouses in the city centers.

    “People are tired of their politicians often unwilling to step up to this problem, cited Dennis Ettlin, A corporation,even though the list economist, City planner and aerospace engineer who volunteers for the nonprofit group Interfaith Homeless Outreach project for Empowerment. He is helping to scout sites for shelters in south Orange County, solutions he will pass on to city officials.

    “your to feed the homeless, he was quoted saying. “But food is not the issue here. Housing is the problem,

    A homeless woman lies on the grass prior to the Santa Ana Public Library in Santa Ana, Calif. (Philip Cheung/For The arizona Post)

    Nearly a quarter of the nation’s homeless population lives in California about 134,000 people who often have carved out patches of curb, Riverbed, Public park or town square to call home.

    California has the highest percentage of homeless people living outside or in cars advocates consider them the “Unsheltered, Eight in 10 homeless people here under the age of 21 live outdoors, Nearly twice chance in other states.

    Though billions of dollars in public funds have been approved for homeless housing nowadays, The money has proved difficult to spend as quickly as needed. California’s auditor recommended in April that a single agency oversee the money and ideas to address challenge, Which work day daily across city limits and county lines.

    “The growing capacity the homeless is small but very loud, believed Tim Houchen, A formerly homeless man who now advocates for the children. “Their problem now online dating ukraine is that there are several people who do not want any new homeless shelters, But they want the homeless to turn away,

    A man walks past possessions of homeless people on Santa Ana Boulevard. Residents in fast gentrifying areas are getting increasingly frustrated with the condition of homelessness, And inaction for politicians. (Philip Cheung/For The washington Post)your public fatigue, manifested in hearing rooms, On the streets and in new policies, Has been showing over the state for months.

    In january, The city of El Cajon in north park County, Where the worst outbreak of hepatitis A in the country’s history emerged from homeless encampments last year, Arrested a dozen people accused of breaking a new city law which makes it a crime to feed the homeless. The ordinance was rescinded a month later amid public protest.

    exact same month, It was revealed that a San Diego city work crew had nearly killed a homeless person a few weeks earlier. In clearing a the town center encampment, Workers collected a tent without looking inside and heaved it into a trash truck. The abandoned person scrambled out before being crushed.

    at Malibu, A city west of Los Angeles that includes a neighborhood nicknamed “Billionaire’s park, those resident have urged a church to stop the weekly dinners it holds for the homeless. residents argued that offering charity just attracts more homeless people. the same principle happened in the less luxe city of Riverside, To the east of usually are.

    a lot of states politics is on the far left fringe? Just wait for an next elections.]

    the community concern has been borne out by some recent events.

    A fire last fall that insecure the Getty Museum and Bel Air started in a hillside homeless encampment, Drawing calls from some of the richest Los Angeles neighborhoods for the government to do more to address the issue. Downtown businesses also burned as a result of cooking fires that got out of control in homeless enclaves.

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