• 48°

Christmas with Dignity deeply discounts gifts for more than 200 children

By Susan Shinn
For the Salisbury Post

CHINA GROVE — Jesus said that it is better to give than to receive.

The more than 150 volunteers who participated in Christmas with Dignity on Saturday would surely agree. The third-annual event, sponsored by Main Street Mission at the South Rowan Y, allows families in need to purchase Christmas gifts for their children and grandchildren at deeply discounted prices.

A number of church and community groups participated, including volunteers from Main Street Mission, First Reformed Church in Landis, Hope Academy in Concord, Christ United Methodist Church in Salisbury and Novant Health.

Outside the Y, Ruth and Isaac Maradiaga loaded their vehicle with bikes, soccer balls, toys and sneakers for their three girls, 14, 10 and 3.

“I’m so excited!” Ruth said. “I’ve never seen gifts so cheap. Thank you to everyone in China Grove who is helping.”

Just inside the door, Main Street Mission volunteers Linda Faulkner and Phyllis Milem greeted shoppers and volunteers alike with warm smiles.

Hope Oliphant, Main Street Mission’s community outreach advocate, said the Christmas store would be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. She expected to serve 75 families, plus an additional 25 who were on the waiting list. All told, more than 200 children would receive Christmas presents.

The gym was filled to the brim with gifts and decorated in a Dr. Seuss theme. Hope and Anne Corriher, Main Street Mission’s executive director, sported colorful “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” T- shirts.

Many volunteers from First Reformed were on hand. Christmas with Dignity is the congregation’s flagship project.

“Our whole Christmas season hinges on this project,” said the Rev. David Franks, the church’s pastor.

Each fall, the church hosts an annual “Andy Griffith Show,” which nets about $9,000. Altogether, the church raises $20,000 for Christmas with Dignity. They’ll also buy groceries this weekend for an additional 100 families served by Main Street Mission.

“This is what church is supposed to be,” Franks said, smiling.

Eric Lambert and Dawn Franks, David’s wife, spearhead the project at First Reformed.

“For years,” Eric said, “we have gotten names of families to help in Christmas, but the need has grown. So we decided to partner with Main Street Mission. When we heard that the families have the satisfaction of being able to buy items, we were intrigued, and wanted to get involved.”

Eric said the project makes Christmas for him and his family. He and his wife, Lori, have three children: Nathan, 22, Jonathan, 20, and Hannah, 17.

“We’ve been blessed,” he said. “Our children have realized that outside our home, not everybody’s been as blessed as they have.”

Now, he said, his sons invite their friends to participate in the project, and Jonathan even asked to deliver gifts.

“Now, son,” he told him, “we don’t just deliver. We share and pray with them.”

“Dad,” Jonathan said, “we’ve got this.”

Nearby, Amanda Helmandollar and her husband, Billy, were shopping for their two sons, Jeremy and Thomas. They didn’t have anything specific in mind, she said.

At the gift wrapping station, Christina Johnson, representing Hope Academy, helped Sophia Sang and Abbey Ballew, both 11, wrap boxes of baby dolls.

Above their heads hung a large, hand-painted banner with a bright red background and lime green lettering. On it was another famous saying about giving, this one from The Grinch.

“Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.”

Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

About Post Lifestyles

Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalPostLifestyle/ and Twitter @postlifestlyes for more content

email author More by Post

Comments

Coronavirus

Fluctuating COVID-19 death number back to 302 in Rowan County

Crime

Habitual felon sentenced to at least 8 years in prison

Kannapolis

City of Kannapolis to have bike rodeo Saturday

Crime

Two more charged for operating illegal gambling businesses

Education

A.L. Brown celebrates seniors with signing day

Business

Rebounding, but not recovered: Rowan County tourism begins challenging path toward normalcy

High School

High school baseball: Padgett leads Mustangs; 100th win for West coach Graham

Coronavirus

RSS superintendent, Board of Health discuss strategies for increasing student vaccination rates

Education

East Spencer charter school files petition to contest charter revocation

Nation/World

Gas stations report shortages as pipeline shutdown drags on

News

Lawyers: Black man didn’t drive into deputies who shot him

Nation/World

Liz Cheney says Trump and GOP backers threaten democracy

Coronavirus

Rowan Health Department clarifies county’s COVID-19 death total is 301

Landis

Landis approves new land development ordinance, zoning map

Landis

Landis approves body camera, stun gun purchase for public safety officers

Crime

One charged, another dead on sheriff’s most wanted list

Crime

No injuries after car shot eight times on Old Concord Road

Education

RSS talks first steps for new federal relief totaling $66 million

China Grove

Gary’s Barbecue staff, customers look back at 50 years

News

Salisbury Lions Club names Person of the Year, Lion of the Year at 78th annual banquet

Education

Student COVID-19 numbers show first decline since plan A

High School

High school golf: Fowler competes in state tournament

News

Amazon announces new distribution center for North Carolina

News

House passes bill to bar Cooper from mandating COVID shot