The most wonderful time of the year has come once again. As people finish their Thanksgiving leftovers and decorate the tree, thoughts turn to shopping lists and holiday sales.
Christmas has certainly gotten its share of criticism for being a holiday steeped in consumerism, but it does not have to be. This Christmas, hundreds of charity organizations in the Philadelphia area are providing opportunities to give others a holiday season they will always remember.
In recent years, Angel Tree, an organization connected to Prison Fellowship Ministries, has become one of the most popular holiday charity organizations in the nation. Started in 1982 by ex-prisoner Mary-Kay Beard, Angel Tree seeks to connect incarcerated parents with their children by giving donors the opportunity to provide and deliver Christmas gifts.
Participation in the program often begins in local churches. Provided with a list of children and their Christmas wishes, church coordinators and congregation members can participate by donating money, shopping for and wrapping presents or delivering gifts directly to the children’s homes. In doing this, Angel Tree seeks to reach out to broken families and share the true meaning of Christmas.
On a more local level, City Team Ministries in Chester, has been providing opportunities to serve since 1987. After their hugely popular turkey drops and food drives for Thanksgiving, City Team now also looks for ways to serve needy families during the Christmas season.
This year, the organization is promoting the Adopt A Child event, which allows donors to provide for a single child or an entire needy family. As with Angel Tree, participants can supply money, gifts, clothing or food to help make this holiday special for a family living in poverty.
In addition to the Adopt a Child program, City Team is always looking for volunteers to help organize and run food drives during this busy time of year.
So, as you head home this Christmas, prepare for an enjoyable time with friends and family, but also consider your opportunities to serve. After all, what better way to celebrate the birth of Christ, the Humble Servant, than to make this holiday season a time of selfless giving?
Angel Tree: http://www.angeltree.org
City Team: http://www.cityteam.org/philadelphia/adopt-a-child/index.php