On December 12-14, First Baptist Wentzville and the HOPE Food Pantry partnered with LINC for their annual Christmas Store. Individuals, retail stores, churches, Toys For Tots and community groups donated new unwrapped toys for boys and girls ranging in ages of birth to 18 years. Families that had an emergency need were able to schedule an appointment for one of the three days for their own shopping experience. A loveable “elf” was there to greet them upon their arrival and played The Annual Christmas IQ Test with them until it was their turn to shop.
Each shopper was accompanied by a personal shopper (one of the many volunteers) who walked through the store with them while they made their selection. This gave the volunteer and shopper an opportunity to connect on a personal level. The volunteer had an opportunity to discuss the real meaning of Christmas and share the Gospel message of Jesus Christ with them.
Because of all the generous donations, shoppers were able to select seven gifts for each child and additional smaller items to be used as stocking stuffers. Because of the kind donations from the Solid Rock Preschool our families could also then select a winter hat, gloves and scarf for each of the children.
A new addition to the Christmas store was the idea of giving back. After all the gifts were selected, shoppers were encouraged to write a note of thanks to all who donated and, if they had the means, to make a small donation of their own to support the Crisis Nursery.
Because of the generosity of the community, 222 children were blessed with a bountiful Christmas. Additionally, gifts for 100 more children were sent to a government agency that was unable to secure gifts to cover their requests for assistance.