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.
Thanks to numerous churches in 2013 we
were able to provide filled gift bags, gift
cards, stuffed animals and a few baby
items to many children.
However., last year’s need for filled gift
bags was greater than the number
With your help in 2014 we can meet or
exceed those needs.
Individuals, as well as church or church
groups, are encouraged to help with this
project sponsored by the Desert Southwest
Guidelines for filling will be reviewed in
the next several slides.
Even if you have read the guidelines in
previous years, please take time to
review them again as some of the
information has changed.
Near the end of the slide show you will
find pictures from the 2013 distribution.
The guidelines for purchasing and filling
bags have been formed over the years to
make the process easier. Your help in
following them is appreciated.
A list of these guidelines is also available in
document form and it is suggested that all
those who plan to fill read them carefully.
The suggested gift list for the bags
remains the same as previous years.
However, these are just suggestions.
Almost anything that children would like
is appreciated as long as the items fit in
the appropriate size bag. Of course
there are a few items that are not
appropriate. Those items will be
addressed later in this slide show.
SUGGESTED GIFT ITEMS FOR 3 TO 12 YEAR OLDS
PLEASE MAKE SURE ALL THE ITEMS ARE AGE APPROPRIATE
crayons & coloring books anything art related
markers simple craft kits
small toys comic books, story books
sports cards – boys sports memorabilia
balls small hand held games
dolls – girls Beanie babies
activity books story books
match box cars – boys Nerf toys
Christmas pens/pencils Christmas socks
jacks, marbles jump ropes
hair items Christian items (cross, jewelry, books)
small stuffed animals jewelry
Anything fun that a child would like!!
• Appropriate bag sizes are:
no smaller than 8 by 10
no larger than 10 by 13.
• Purchase paper or cloth bags in the
appropriate size that come decorated
for Christmas or plain red or green ones.
Decorated bags for birthdays or other
holidays are not appropriate.
• The width of bags will vary according
to manufacture and are likely to be
anywhere from 3 to 5 inches wide. This
Note - If we receive bags larger than the
appropriate size we will divide the contents
into other bags. It just wouldn’t be right to
give one child an oversized bag while the
others receive the requested sizes.
• Please use the following three age
categories when filling and tagging the
3 – 4 years olds
5 – 8 years olds
9 – 12 years olds
• Bags may be for either a girl or a boy
but must be marked for which gender
and age the bag is intended.
• Note: No filled bags are needed for
teens* or babies.
*(We have several churches that donate the gift
cards for the teens.)
• Fill the bags with NEW, UNBROKEN
TOYS or other new items. Please
make sure there are no missing parts.
• Unless accompanied by larger, better
quality items, little trinket type toys
are not appropriate.
• Important -- Do NOT include items
such as knives, razors or anything that
could be used as or resembles a
• Tie gift cards to the bag that indicate
the age of the child the gift is intended
for and the gender.
• Please do not use staples, tape or pins.
Pins and staples could hurt the child.
Taped tags often come off.
• A flash light or watch needs batteries,
coloring books need crayons, a water
color book needs a brush, etc. Please
include the companion item.
Often the children do not have the money
to buy the items they need to be able to
use those gifts.
• Candy in the bags is okay, as long as
the candy isn’t left over from
another holiday such as Halloween,
Easter, etc. Chocolate and peanut
candy should NOT be included due to
• Please, no small candy pieces for the
3 to 4 year olds (or toys with small
• Monetary gift cards should NOT be
placed in the bags along with gifts.
Children don’t understand when other
children receive a gift card in their bag
but they don’t.
• 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
the bag. This makes transporting them
• Make sure that the gifts in the bag
are appropriate for the age and
gender marked on the tag.
• Fill the bags well. For some of
these children the bag is the only
Christmas gift they may get.
If you can’t fill a whole bag, share the
joy – ask someone to go in with you in
Needless to say, all of the bags can not be
identical but it is important that they be
well-filled and appropriate.
Thanks to volunteers the bags are checked, sorted and
counted to ready them for distribution.
We’d love to have help from some other churches this
year. Won’t YOU consider helping?
A few medium size stuffed animals are
also needed for the toddlers.
These examples have a 12
inch ruler in the picture to
give an idea of the size
Your understanding and help is
These guidelines are not meant to
discourage anyone from filling bags. They
are meant to prevent additional work for
the volunteers and to keep the children
from being disappointed.
If you have any questions regarding
the filling of bags please don’t
hesitate to email the Christmas
Project Coordinator, Bev Secrist at:
or phone 480-345-9420
If your church would like to help this year or
provide bags please contact Bev Secrist at 480-
345-9420 or email: email@example.com
You may still participate on your own even if
your church isn’t. Please contact Bev at the
above number or email.
Reminder - a list of the guidelines is available in
document form and it is suggested that all who
plan to fill read them carefully. Contact Bev
(see above) for a copy. A DVD of this slide show
is also available.
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
24 25 26 27 28 29
Please consider this commitment carefully. Please
provide what you promise.
This information needs to be in no later than
date are most
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31
Churches in the Central East and Central West
Districts are to deliver their gifts to the United
Methodist Conference Center, 1500 E.
Meadowbrook Ave., Phoenix, 84014 on
Space is limited at the Conference Center in
Phoenix – thus there is no place to store items
ahead of time. Please take this into
consideration when you make a commitment
and delivery arrangements. December 1
between 9:30 AM and 3:00 PM is the ONLY
time and date bags may be delivered Your
understanding is appreciated.
Churches in the North and South
Districts will have a location in their
districts that will receive their gifts.
Location, date, and contact person to be
announced. Contact Bev Secrist at 480-
345-9420 or firstname.lastname@example.org for
We are in need of more churches from
these two districts to participate in filling
bags to the ….