At a LifeSpring Round Table last summer we discussed our annual project, Christmas Child Boxes, and we decided that we would no longer participate in it.  The reasons were 1) Franklin Graham’s annual salary of $880,000, 2) the manipulative strategy of CCB in dealing with young children, and 3) the harm that CCB does to local economies.

In the discussions that ensued, we decided that we would rather select a local project to replace CCB.  By so doing, we can help the people in our own community and also be personally invested in the project.  This Christmas Season we are going to partner with Monika Grasley at LifeLine Community Development (LCDC) to provide Christmas gifts for children she serves.

Why This Is a Good Project

Under Monika’s guidance, LCDC is an agency that uses Asset Based Community Development principles to do its work. Rather than throwing money at needs, Monika teaches people in need to learn to use their gifts and abilities to improve their communities.  As a result, people are not driven further into dependency and victim-thinking, learning, instead, to think in terms of possibilities and capabilities.  It’s pretty brilliant and totally encouraging to see enacted.

LifeSpring will be contributing gifts for children.  Monika puts these in a “store” where parents can come and purchase them at 20% of their value. This is good for families for the following reasons.  1) It puts the parents in charge of what their children receive.  2) It makes the parents feel accomplished because they “purchase” the gifts.  3) And because the gifts are creative in nature (see below), the children receive things that don’t have glowing screens but stimulate creative juices.

How Can We Help

Monika gave some guidelines that will inform our participation in this project.

  1. Gifts should be delivered to Monika by Sunday, December 10.  Her “store” opens on December 18.
  2. Nothing electronic or mindless should be given.
  3. She said that gifts should be between $15 and $25 dollars.  She asks that dollar store junk not be gifted.  It sends a very negative message to parents and children.
  4. Gifts should engage the minds and bodies of the children.  Examples of good gifts include books, creative stuff, outdoor games such as balls, artsy stuff, blocks, etc.  Gifts like this have endlessly interesting implications.
  5. Children in this project are aged from 5 to 13.  There are 15 children in all in the group.
  6. This project is specifically to benefit children in the Meadows.

Future Implications

As you know, Christmas Child Boxes were a once-a-year deal.  But with this LifeLine project, Christmas is not the end of the implications for it.  Monika said that she is working to extend the same kind of ministry to the apartments located at Glen and Santa Fe.  (This is where Dee Larocque lives.)

If LifeSpring elected to continue working with LifeLine CDC, we could have future involvement in working with families in the new area.  We’d also have the added pleasure of Dee’s actually being onsite, giving us insight into the needs of the residents.  It’s pretty exciting to think about.

How Can You Help

Here are some ways you can immediately help with this project.

  1. Pray a lot for the future of this.  We need God’s help with this going forward.
  2. Purchase an unwrapped gift or two or three for children, per the guidelines above. We’ll collect them on December 10 and maybe even get Monika to come to worship that day to receive them.
  3. Buy a food that would be good for Dee Larocques’ Christmas Dinner.  She feeds 8 guests, and she does this often.  (The Logues will be bringing the turkey.)  We will collect this food on December 10 as well.  It’s gonna be a great day!