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By Beverly Secrist, Chair of the Christmas Bag Project

Thanks to the generosity of 27 churches in the Desert Southwest Conference over 1,340 Sidewalk Sunday School children will receive gifts this Christmas.

Churches from around The Desert Southwest Conference collected 1,340 gift bags for Sidewalk Ministries.

Churches from around The Desert Southwest Conference collected 1,340 gift bags for Sidewalk Ministries.

After gifts were delivered to the Conference Center on December 3 volunteers from Shepherd of the Hills, St. Paul’s in Globe, Chandler and St. Matthew counted and sorted the donations. Unfortunately, there was a need this year to purchase items to fill about 40 additional bags for the 3 to 4 and 9 to 12 age groups to meet the requests from the Sidewalk site directors. There were more than plenty in the 5 to 8 category.

Under the supervision of Ellen Beene, donations from the South District churches were delivered to the South District office where they were counted and readied by volunteers from St. Marks and Christ Church for the Sidewalk site in Tucson.

Overall, the gifts went to a total of twelve Sidewalk Sunday School sites where they are distributed during their Christmas programs/parties or home visitations. The children ages 3 to 12 receive filled gift bags, toddlers receive stuffed animals and teens receive gift cards. Mothers with young babies are given appropriate items for the young ones. Site directors were also given gift cards to use for especially needy Sidewalk families.

It is the hope of the Sidewalk Christmas Bag Coordinator, Bev Secrist, that more churches will be willing to participate in filling of bags in 2013. It was noted that this year churches gave anywhere from 10 to 103 filled bags depending upon the size and finances of the congregation. Gift card giving ranged from 1 to 200 cards. The project depends on the generous people of The Desert Southwest Conference. Each and every donation helped to make Christmas a little brighter for the Sidewalk Children.

For more information about Sidewalk Sunday School and/or the Christmas Bag project check out the Conference web page at: http://tinyurl.com/DSCsidewalk.

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