An invitation to the United Methodist churches of the Desert Southwest Conference to participate in the annual Sidewalk Ministries Christmas Project, including helpful instructions about the gift bags.
In 2012 over 1,350 children at 12 sitesreceived Christmas gift bags, giftcards, stuffed animals or a baby item from26 churches out of the 140 in ourconference.With the possibility of additional Sidewalksites this year, our goal for 2013 is to surpassthe number of gifts that were donated in2012.
For many of the sites, the day of bagdistribution was cold and rainy as it wasat the following site.Christmas 2012
What do we need for 2013?We need well-filled Christmas gift bags forchildren ages 3 to 12.
Last year we were short quite a few bags aschurches donated cards and baby items insteadof filled bags. Thus, unfortunately, we had tomake up a number of bags at the last minute tomeet the need.
Traditionally we seem to receive less bagsin the 9 to 12 year old category than wedo any of the other two bag categories.The 5 to 8 year old category seems to bethe easiest one for everyone to fill.However, that doesn’t mean everyoneshould start filling that age group insteadof the others. We still need plenty of theother age groups.
We do NOT need gift bags for babies.We need a few individual baby items -such as sippy cups, bibs, and rattles.This is not in place of giving well filledbags for ages 4 to 12. This is aboveand beyond giving.
A few medium size stuffed animals arealso needed for the toddlers.These examples have a 12inch ruler in the picture togive an idea of the sizeneeded. This, too, isabove and beyond filledbags.
Guidelines for purchasing and filling bagshave been formed over the years to makethe process easier. Your help in followingthem is appreciated.A list of these guidelines is available indocument form and it is suggested that allthose who plan to fill read them carefully.Thank you!
1. Purchase paper bags in the appropriate size thatcome decorated for Christmas or plain red orgreen ones. Decorated bags for birthdays or otherholidays are not appropriate.Appropriate bag sizes are no smaller than 8 by10 and no larger than 10 by 13.The width of bags will vary according tomanufacture and are likely to be anywhere from 3to 5 inches wide. This is okay.Note - If we receive bags larger than theappropriate size we will divide the contents intoother bags. It just wouldn’t be right to give onechild an oversized bag while the others receive therequested sizes.
2. Please use the following three agecategories when filling and tagging thebags.3 – 4 years olds5 – 8 years olds9 – 12 years oldsBags may be for either a girl or a boy butmust be marked as to which gender thebag is for.Note: No bags are needed for teens or babies.
3. Fill the bags with NEW, UNBROKEN TOYS orother new items. Please make sure there areno missing parts.Unless accompanied by larger, better qualityitems, little trinket type toys are notappropriate.Monetary gift cards should NOT be placed inthe bags along with gifts.
Important -- Do NOT include items such asknives, razors or anything that could be usedas or resembles a weapon.Gifts in the bags should be un-wrapped.Tissue paper on top of the gifts is okay.Do not attach items to the outside of thebag. This makes transporting them difficult.
Some gift items need a companion - pleasegive both items.A flash light or watch needs batteries, coloringbooks need crayons, a water color book needs abrush, etc.Often the children do not have the money tobuy the items they need to be able to use thosegifts.
Candy in the bags is okay, as long as thecandy isn’t left over from another holidaysuch as Halloween, Easter, etc. Chocolateand peanut candy should NOT be includeddue to possible allergies.Please, no small candy pieces for the 3 to 4year olds (or toys with small parts).
SUGGESTED GIFT ITEMS FOR 3 TO 12 YEAR OLDSPLEASE MAKE SURE ALL THE ITEMS ARE AGE APPROPRIATEcrayons & coloring books anything art relatedmarkers simple craft kitssmall toys comic books, story bookssports cards – boys sports memorabiliaballs small hand held gamesgames puzzlesdolls – girls Beanie babiesactivity books story booksmatch box cars – boys Nerf toysChristmas pens/pencils Christmas socksjacks, marbles jump ropeshair items Christian items (cross, jewelry, books)small stuffed animals jewelryAnything fun that a child would like!!
Obviously the contents can’t be the same in allthe bags, but the bags should all befull and appropriate.
4. Tie gift cards to the bag that indicate theage of the child the gift is intended for andthe gender.Please do not use staples, tape or pins.Pins and staples could hurt the child. Tapedtags often come off.Make sure that the gifts in the bag areappropriate for the age and gender markedon the tag.
Newly arrived bagswaiting to bechecked and sorted.
Volunteers help check, sort and count the bags andready them for distribution.We’d love to have help from some other churchesthis year. Won’t YOU consider helping?
Your understanding and help is appreciated.These guidelines are not meant to discourageanyone from filling bags. They are meant toprevent additional work for the volunteers andto keep the children from being disappointed.
If your church would like to help this year orprovide bags please contact Bev Secrist at 480-345-9420 or email: email@example.comYou may still participate on your own even ifyour church isn’t. Please contact Bev at theabove number or email.Reminder - a list of the guidelines is available indocument form and it is suggested that all whoplan to fill read them carefully. Contact Bev(see above) for a copy.
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat123 4 5 6 7 8 910 11 12 13 14 15 1617 18 19 20 21 22 2324 25 26 27 28 29 301NOVEMBER 2013Please consider this commitment carefully.Please provide what you promise.This information needs to be in no later thanNovember 1st.Commitmentsbefore thisdate are mostwelcome andencouraged!
Churches in the North and South Districts willhave a location in their districts that willreceive their gifts. Location, date, and contactperson to be announced. Contact Bev Secristat 480-345-9420 or firstname.lastname@example.org formore information.We are in need of more churches fromthese two districts to participate in fillingbags.
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat1 2 3 4 5 6 78 9 10 11 12 13 1415 16 17 18 19 20 2122 23 24 25 26 27 2829 30 312DECEMBER 2013Churches in the Central East and Central WestDistricts are to deliver their gifts to the UnitedMethodist Conference Center, 1500 E.Meadowbrook Ave., Phoenix, 84014 onDecember 2.Pleasedeliverbetween9:30 AMand3:00 PM.
Space is limited at the Conference Center inPhoenix – thus there is no place to store itemsahead of time. Please take this intoconsideration when you make a commitmentand delivery arrangements. December 2nd isthe ONLY time bags may be delivered. Yourunderstanding is appreciated.North and South District Churches will be advised at alater time when and where they can deliver their gifts.Please honor those dates.
Last but notleast, volunteers helpwith the distributionof gifts.
Thank you to everyonewho helped in 2012 andthose who will help againthis year – from thevolunteers to those whodonated bags, cards orother items.
Thank you from allthe children and theSidewalk SundaySchool volunteers.THE END!