By: Karla Hovde
Children in need in Minnesota and the Dakotas will receive at least one great Christmas present this year, thanks to the Shoebox Christmas project.
Shoebox Christmas, a project of the Spirit Lake Ministry Center in North Dakota, is partnering with Serve MSP, a collaboration of youth and young adults in the Minnesota Conference who work on service projects together several times a year. This project will provide hundreds of boxes of toys and gifts to children on Native American reservations in Minnesota and the Dakotas. (This project is not connected with Operation Christmas Child.)
Minnesota youth groups are invited to both collect and donate gifts for the shoeboxes and then to pack the shoeboxes from 2-4 p.m. Nov. 6 at Good Samaritan UMC in Edina. In addition to wearing masks, there will be enough space to remain physically distanced inside the church. You can register your church’s youth group.
“It's our hope that youth are able to come together from different church communities and serve together—and that by gathering in a larger group, we're able to do more than we could in our own youth groups,” said Sami Tierney, co-chair of the Minnesota Conference Youth Ministry Team.
Serve MSP has a goal of filling 500 shoeboxes this year. Each shoebox will include a large gift and an assortment of smaller toys, winter gear, art supplies, and hygiene essentials.
“These gifts bring joy to children and parents alike,” said Rev. Mike Flowers, co-director of Spirit Lake Ministry Center. “You share the love of Jesus Christ and make a difference in the lives of many children and adults. I wish every one of you could be here to witness the tears of joy when we deliver these small gifts of love.”
Your church can join in this effort by collecting and donating gifts between now and Nov. 6. Have your youth bring the items with them, or drop items at Good Samaritan UMC in Edina on Nov. 6. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your collection plan and progress, so the event leaders can plan appropriately for the Nov. 6 event. Determine which plan will work best for your congregation. Here are some ideas:
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church