Last weekend, as I looked down all 53 feet of the Abilene tractor-trailer sitting in the parking lot of Chester Baptist Church, I thought there was no way we would even come close to filling it. Now, one week later, there is more and more floor space being covered. The outpouring of donations has been extraordinary and more continue to trickle in on a daily basis.
By no means are we anywhere near totally filling it, but we sure do have enough to bring joy to many displaced families this Christmas season. If you are wondering what in the world I am talking about it’s this; my six-year-old son Ben decided that he wanted to hold a toy drive for the children affected by Hurricane Sandy. We were putting together some canned goods for a food drive at his school when he asked me why we couldn’t do a toy drive. As I thought about it, I wondered why not? He asked how we could do it and I immediately called our pastor at Chester Baptist Church, Dr. Lloyd Braswell.
After speaking with Dr. Braswell, who was delighted with the idea, I then mentioned it to a friend, whose husband happens to work for Abilene Motor Express. As the word was spread the biggest shock of all was delivered, in the form of a 53 foot tractor-trailer. Abilene donated the trailer and their time, as they will be taking the donations to two ministries in New York. The Greater Restoration Baptist Church in Brooklyn and Urban Impact in Rockaway Beach.
What started off as something so small has now grown into something astonishing. Ben even said, “I thought we would get a few boxes of toys, but this is crazy and so awesome.” Yes, I have to agree with him, it is pretty awesome.
We will be splitting the donations between the churches and my dear friend and I are working daily on loading up the truck, making boxes and marking them appropriately. It’s hard, but it will be so worth it the moment we get to see these folks receive the gift of hope this Christmas. Yes, we are taking Ben up to New York this weekend to help unload the truck and hand out the toys.
Urban Impact Ministries in Rockaway Beach is holding a children’s holiday party on Sunday and we will be there all day helping unload the truck, wrap presents, sort boxes and decorate, then join in the festivities. The husband and I thought that it was so important for Ben to see what his one simple idea bloomed into. There seems to be a disconnect when people donate but don’t see what good their donations do; we will change that. I am going to record and take photos so everyone who was involved can see the happy smiles on the children’s (and parents) faces.
I hope you all will consider helping make some families Christmas a little more peaceful. You can donate new toys, blankets, socks, cleaning supplies, building supplies and non-perishable food items. Donations are being accepted M-F 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. at 4317 School St. in the Chester Baptist church office and on Sat. 9 a.m. -12 p.m. in the back parking lot next to the trailer. The trailer will be leaving Chester for New York at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Merry Christmas to you all.