Present Hope

Present Hope

For me, November starts the beginning of a busy holiday schedule. The weather has cooled off, sometimes we get snow (like this year already), Thanksgiving is around the corner, and that is just November!  This year, after Thanksgiving is Present Hope! Like the last few years, we are teaming up with the Arlington Church of Christ and other Knoxville area churches to serve the community through Present Hope. Our congregation will be serving 3 families (5 children) for Christmas and as a whole, Present Hope is serving approximately 120 students in the Downtown Knoxville area.

Present Hope is an opportunity for parents to pay a few dollars to have the ability to choose Christmas items for their children that they wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. When the parents show up at Present Hope, some of the teenagers from the local churches will take the parents shopping at the Arlington church building. This is where we come into play. Each parent will choose three items for their child. The first gift is around $10, the second gift is around $15, and the third is $25 dollars. In the foyer we will have a sign-up sheet for different items and then I will follow up with an email reminder as to what you signed up for. Please stick to the price limit you have selected.

Some of the students are now in Middle School and High School. For these students, we are trying out a new system this year where a family will choose one of the Middle/High School students and put together a gift bag that combines all three items for a total of $50. We are looking for a $25 dollar gift card and then smaller items that make up the other $25 dollars. If you would like to help with one of these students, please let me know after you sign up and I’ll send you the idea list that was provided by the students in the program. On Present Hope day, a gift bag will be made with the child’s name on it and given to the wrapping room to be wrapped as individual gifts. If you provide a gift bag, please put the name on the bag via an index card.

The presents for the children are just one of the things that Present Hope offers. As a gift to each family, we also provide them with one $25 gift card to Kroger to help offset food during the holiday season. We will also provide two $5 gifts for the children to select to give to their parents at Christmas as well. There will be a list in the foyer but even if all of the gift card slots are filled up, we can accept more gift cards to Kroger, Walmart, Target, Chick Fil A, or McDonalds. These extra gift cards would be distributed among the children.

We need all gifts back from Northeast by December 4th. There will be three boxes in the Foyer to put the gifts of $10, $15, $25. Please do not wrap the gifts. They will be set out at the Arlington Church building for the parents to choose. (Just like a store) Please also black out the UPC code with a Sharpie. Also, as a friendly reminder, please be mindful of the items that you buy and remember that there are many backgrounds that we are working with.

Thank you for your support of Present Hope. The Middle/High School class will head down on December 8th to help participate in Present Hope. Our goal is to not only serve the families there but to also think about doing this in the Tri-Cities with the Churches in the area. Thank you for your generosity and for your love for these children and their families.

Be Blessed!
Mark Casella