The Bland Messenger has more on this fine charity organization:
Local ministry assists many over holiday seasonIn one sense, it's depressing to see so many people assemble at one time in one place, the shared purpose of their gathering being a need for food and clothing - with the temperature outside in the teens, snow and ice blanketing the parking lot and walkways, and a chill winter wind blowing. More people will crowd the steps of the Bland Ministry Center at Christmas, it seems, than attend the county fair in summer. It gives one pause. And creates a palpable sense of frustration. I know - and the people amassed on the steps of the Center have come to accept, unfortunately - the fact that nothing is being done to fix the problems that plague this area.
By Wayne Quesenberry, Bland Messenger
When the holiday season brings stress and strain, consider the plight of the Bland Ministry Center.
So far the center has requests from 400 families seeking help through the Christmas project. It anticipates 200 more applications before the Dec. 16 registration deadline.
Operated through the East River Baptist Association, the center depends on donations from churches, businesses, clubs, civic organizations and individuals to support its work. It also relies heavily on volunteers.
A drive by the county's postal workers will provide toys for children in the area this Christmas.
Established 22 years ago, the Bland Ministry Center also provides a clothes closet, a dental clinic and home repair programs. (link)
The more congenial side of me wants to recognize that what is playing out at the Bland Ministry Center is the timeless celebration of Christmas as Christians meant for it to be feted. It is gift-giving at its essence. Those who have a few morsels to spare are sharing them with folks who have none. There will, I hope, be a place in heaven for the kind, selfless, and generous folks who make it all happen.
By the way, the article in the Bland Messenger makes mention of the fact that the Bland Ministry Center is going through some hard times, with the implication being that donations became scarce at that point in time when Hurricane Katrina struck and devastated the Gulf Coast. All the charity, seemingly, went south. The generous people at the Center - and the community of Bland - could use your help.
Lend a hand. And have a joyous Christmas.