Thanks to an outpouring of support from businesses, schools, and individuals another Christmas Distribution at Flat River Outreach Ministries (FROM) helps local families have something to celebrate. Distribution day was Saturday, December 19. Close to 300 families were helped this year, free of charge.
It Takes a Community to Help a Community
Sue Majinska, Karen Whalen, and Mandy McDowell worked to coordinate Christmas Distribution efforts. Those living in the Lowell Area School District needing help this holiday season were able to sign up for Flat River Outreach Ministries gift and/or food distribution. This program allows families and individuals to get a full meal and new gifts for kids birth through high school senior. Through a lottery system those who have registered are given a time to come in and shop on distribution day.
Starting in mid-November various businesses in Lowell are designated drop off sites collecting items for kids from birth to high school senior. As bins are filled FROM volunteers empty them. All of the items are sorted and stored until it is time to set up for Christmas Gift Distribution. Numerous rooms contain new gifts and each room is organized by gender and age range.
Families and individuals who sign up to receive a gift distribution were able to pick out a specific number of items in each room for every child in the family. Either a family board game or puzzle and gloves and slippers were also available. Financial donations were used to purchase gifts in areas where more items were needed. The Lowell Women’s Club also donated gifts for moms and grandmothers to pick out because they often put themselves last.
Sylvia Taylor coordinates all of the food distribution. The food pantry provides a complete dinner including the main course, sides, and dessert. When filling out the form to sign up is a spot to choose between turkey or ham. In addition to the meat a grocery bag filled with fresh and canned items including stuffing, gravy, veggies, fruit, and a pie is also handed out.
A group of approximately 20 volunteers made the Christmas Distribution possible. Gifts were sorted and set out on tables. Food was divided up into bags. Distribution day volunteers help people shop and pick up food. Hundreds of children in the community are able to have a few new gifts under the tree and full meal with their family thanks to those who donated time and items to FROM.
Continued Community Support
FROM’s Christmas Distribution is one of their larger events of the year. But they support families in the community all year. For those wanting to continue helping FROM, donations can be dropped off to be sold in their Treasures Thrift Shop, which helps raise funds. Food donations are also accepted to help provide those in need with groceries.
FROM also offers lunch for school aged children in the summer and over Christmas break. This year’s Lunch Buddies food distribution is Dec. 27 from 1pm-7pm.
Lowell is not only fortunately enough to be able to provide services to those in need in the community but can be proud of those able and willing to donate time, items, and money for others. FROM Executive Director Dawn Broene concludes, “Christmas Distribution is just another example of how the community members of Lowell come together to support one another. This day just helps ensure that families can have a special Christmas and really enjoy the true meaning of Christmas without extra stress and worry.”