Simon Taylor – October 2023
Summer’s over, the nights and cold weather is drawing in…it must be nearly Christmas!
As has become our recent seasonal tradition, we here are Grace Church are going to demonstrate the gift of grace by helping those who are in most need this Christmas. Yes, it’s time to start preparing your Christmas gift boxes.
Since 2020 the people of Grace Church have blessed members of our communities by putting together boxes of Christmas treats to be distributed through local foodbanks and a temporary housing facility.
Over the past 3 Christmases, we have gifted 450 boxes with in-excess of 1,400 people benefiting from them.
The projects we are supporting this year are:
- Bognor Regis Foodbank
- Westward house (a temporary housing facility for those made homeless in the district)
- Havant Munch Pantry (operated out of Park School)
- Midhurst Foodbank
Every year I speak to members of staff and volunteers at each of the organisations and hear stories of how much the boxes mean to the people who receive them. In many cases theses are people who have unexpectedly found themselves in financial hardship through sickness, incapacity, job loss, bereavement or as a result of rising costs and fixed incomes that don’t meet their needs adequately. When they go to the foodbank in mid-December or arrive at the homelessness facility on Christmas eve, not only do they have the worry about where their next meal is coming from, they also carry the shame associated in not being able to provide their family with the Christmas treats that many of us easily take for granted. Each item within the Christmas gift box is a genuinely unexpected blessing and gratefully received gift to the family that receives it.
This year we are launching our initiative early so we can, once again, be a great blessing to those in need, and hopefully demonstrate God’s grace to more people than ever before.
Please join us in this, you don’t have to spend much to make a difference.
Participating is easy!
Step 1: Plan ahead and set a budget of £15-20 per box. Christmas treats are already appearing in the shops, they will soon be discounted as the stores try to move their stock. By planning ahead, we can take advantage of the offers and make our own pounds and pence stretch further this year.
If you’re unable to create a box on your own, please consider what you can do with a friend, family or members of your Grace Group.
Step 2: Using the list below as a guide, do your weekly shop and pick up some extra goodies.
Step 3: Find a suitable sized cardboard box, some Christmas wrapping paper, Sellotape and ribbon or string.
Step 4: Place all of the treats into the box and wrap it, but leave it unsealed (the Foodbanks need to check the contents before they give the boxes out). Why not write an anonymous Christmas card to include in the box as well?
Step 5: Get the box to your drop-off point at your site venue or the Grace Centre for Sunday 3rd December.
Things to include:
- Christmas themed chocolates
- Christmas Crackers
- Children’s Christmas Goodies
- Festive Crisps and Snacks
- Tinned meats (Ham for instance)
- Christmas pudding and custard powder sachets
- Mince Pies
Things to avoid:
- Alcohol (including chocolate liqueurs)
- Party Poppers
- Items for pets
- Money/Gift Cards (Please donate to the foodbank instead).
Doing More to help throughout the year
Grace Church is providing financial gifts to our local foodbanks from our tithe and will continue to champion them as a worthy cause to be supported. So please continue to check out the local foodbank donation pages here and remember them when you shop: