Church helps share the Christmas spirit with local school

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 16, 2016

By Rebecca Rider

WOODLEAF — Hearts are a little warmer in Woodleaf this holiday season thanks to the work of local churches. It was just a few weeks ago that Needmore Baptist Church reached out to Woodleaf Elementary to see if any families needed help buying gifts over the holidays.

Woodleaf sent back a list.

The school has identified 50 children in need of gifts, clothes and necessities during the holiday season, Nicole Hales, a guidance counselor at Woodleaf, said.

“We just have a lot of kids with needs, and it’s just awesome that (the church) came forward to bless these kids,” she said.

Total, four area churches including Needmore took Woodleaf students under their wings this holiday season — Needmore Baptist handled 20 of the requests.

“Our little church did all of this,” Laura Nettles, a church member, said.

On an average Sunday the church, located on Mount Vernon Road, has 35 people in attendance. But they’ve got big hearts.

The church took five children at a time, knowing only their gender, age and Christmas list.

“We didn’t know the kid’s names…So I gave them nicknames based on what they liked,” Carol Nettles, a church member, said.

One student was nicknamed “cars,” another, “Harley.”

“We don’t know who these are going to,” Carol said. “They could live right next to us.”

Laura Nettles said that the idea came from her son, Henry, 7. Last year, the two took names from a tree on the campus of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. They didn’t go to the campus this year, but still wanted to help.

“He really wanted to do it,” Nettles said.

Laura Nettles used to work at Woodleaf Elementary, and the more she thought about it, the more she was sure her church could do something to help the students. By the time the packages were wrapped and delivered Friday morning, over half the church had pitched in.

“So it was just amazing. God really showed up,” Nettles said.

“Giving blesses everybody,” Tonia Smith, church mission friends coordinator, said.

Smith said that the county is full of small churches — she and other members of Needmore Baptist hope that they, too, will be inspired to reach out and help their schools and their communities.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.