It's not too late for folks to add a few gifts to their holiday shopping cart that will make it possible for those less fortunate enjoy a merry Christmas.
Jericho Road Ministries is seeking to fulfill the gift wishes of its clients and could use some help.
"The mission not only becomes their shelter but even more their home," said Emily Carpenter, outreach coordinator. "In order to provide everything we need to bless their Christmas Day, we need help."
Currently, the ministry is serving 13 men, ranging in age from 26 to 60, and four women between the ages of 26 and 56.
Items requested for men include dress and tennis shoes, shirts, trousers, belts, games, jewelry, gloves, a cross, Bibles, Christian CDs, a radio, an MP3 player and candy. For women requests include shoes, blouses, pants, skirts, jewelry, Bibles, a hair dryer, toiletries, a night light and candy. Those with families have requested family movies, toys and books.
All gifts need to be received at the stewardship office, 1163 Howell Ave., by Dec. 18. For a list of the specific items requested, along with sizes, call Jericho Road at (352) 799-2912, ext. 110, or email [email protected] Lists are also available in the ministry's "News from the Road" newsletter, available at any of the ministry's thrift stores as well as at Chick-fil-A in Spring Hill and at jericho-road.net. Wrapping gifts is optional.
The ministry has also placed two Angel Trees at the Capital City Banks in Brooksville and Spring Hill. There is one item listed on each angel with the client's name and a particular gift the person would like. Gifts may be returned to the bank or taken to the stewardship office.
The ministry will serve its 16th annual free Christmas Eve luncheon to anyone needing fellowship for the holiday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 24 at First United Methodist Church, 109 S Broad St. Those who would like to donate food for the 600 meals that will be served may call for a list of items that are needed. Toys are also needed so that one may be given to each child who attends.
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Helping the Men of Faith from Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church minister to homeless and impoverished children through the Matthew Project is as simple as giving Monte Patterson, coordinator for the project, a call.
"People just need to tell me how many kids they want to help," Patterson said. "I have given them a whole program to use online that includes a PowerPoint presentation of how the program works."
That information is available at faithepc.net/Matthew_Project/. Patterson can be reached at (352) 279-5985.
For those who wish to participate as an organization, Patterson will custom design the project and deliver it to them.
Several churches and organizations have already signed up to adopt children for the project. Brooksville churches include Patterson's, Spring Lake United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church of Brooksville and St. Paul the Apostle. Family First Assembly in Spring Hill is also helping, as are the Hernando Republicans.
Anyone wanting to help as an individual may pick up a child's information card from Faith Evangelical at 200 Mount Fair Ave., Patterson said, noting that it is important for those adopting children to leave their phone numbers.
Gifts should be returned to the church by Monday. People may also drop off a donation of a gift card, check or cash for the Matthew Project at the church. Those are needed as soon as possible to enable volunteers to purchase gifts.
Once the gifts have been collected, they will be delivered to the schools for the schools to distribute.
This is the fourth year the men have participated in the program, partnering with Operation HeartFELT to provide presents to students attending Brooksville schools and their siblings.
Patterson said Hernando County's high unemployment rate makes it difficult for many children, especially at Christmas.
"Each year the demand has increased, and this year is no different," he said.
Last year, the group provided gifts to 200 children. This year Patterson anticipates helping more than 250.
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Salvation Army Angel Trees placed at area Cracker Barrels and Walmart stores still have about 150 angels available for adoption, according to Lt. JoAnn Frazier, who is coordinating the project.
Gifts must be returned to the tree site or the main office at 15464 Cortez Blvd., west of Brooksville, by Friday.