Steve Parsons does not want to see any child left behind when it comes to gift-giving this Christmas.
Yet, an empty-handed youngster could be a distinct possibility come gift-distribution time. As of Wednesday, there were still 93 children – out of a total of 262 – on the waiting list of Love I.N.C.’s Children’s Christmas Gift Program who need an “adopting family” to buy them presents.
“I need the community to help. We’re kind of running out of time,” said a worried Parsons who is the director of Love I.N.C. (In the Name of Christ) which is conducting this Christmas gift-giving project for the third year in a row.
The children are from families that have been “visiting various giving centers” such as St. Paul’s United Methodist’s outreach ministry because “nothing has changed in their lives” as far as their fiscal crises are concerned, explained Parsons.
“We don’t want any kids to be left behind (in terms of gifts),” he said.
And the program is focused on just the children because “parents can survive without Christmas gifts,” said Parsons.
Also, “we help the adults throughout the year,” Love I.N.C. board member and volunteer Bob Mitchell pointed out.
Some of the families of the children in the gift-giving list are “close to homeless.” At least two families are homeless and are currently staying at a shelter, Mitchell said. Also, many of them are single moms, he said.
The unique thing about the Children’s Christmas Gift project of Love I.N.C. is that the presents donated by those willing to “adopt” a child this Christmas will be given to the parents who will then decide whether they want to give the gifts their children as something that came from them or from Santa.
Parsons said they would like to have all the donated gifts by Friday, Dec. 16, with the gift distribution to take place Tuesday, Dec. 20, at one of the churches in the area. He is hopeful, while praying hard at the same time, that all the children on their list will have an “adopting family” to give them “a nice Christmas.”
“I know the community is generous and will step up to the plate,” he said.
He added that Love I.N.C. did not find the needy children; “they found us.”
Those who want to sign up to adopt a child or children will be given a “scroll” containing information about the participating children’s needs and wants, and along with it, “a unique code number” so the adopting individuals do not know the identity of the children. This technique “will allow the parents to personalize the gift tag in any manner they wish,” Parsons said.
All donations are tax-deductible. He added, “Some folks want to help but they don’t like to shop, so we also accept cash donations.”
For more information on how to help the Children’s Christmas Gift program, call Love I.N.C. at (209) 825-9131.