White Lake Churches Provide Holiday Help
Parishioners come together to donate gifts and food to families in need.
White Lake churches will be stuffing stockings and filling kitchen cupboards this holiday season as they aim to assist local families in need of food and gifts.
"We have a program called Bless a Family," said Margaret Brown, administrative assistant at Woodside Bible Church in White Lake. "People will contact us and let us know what they want to contribute. We give them children's ages and sizes and they deliver wrapped gifts to the home." At a time when people are having difficulty paying their bills, Brown said it's only logical that churches come together to help others.
Cedar Crest Lutheran Church in White Lake takes part in a nationwide program called the Angel Food Ministries. "It's a co-op food plan," said Sharon Cassidy, Cedar Crest's administrative assistant. "People can use a credit card, cash or a Bridge card to order food. They get double the value in food for what they paid for. I think we have appetites that we need to satisfy, not only physical but spiritual as well." When families pick up their packages, the church offers them coffee, soup and bibles.
"We provide macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly and other staples," said Debbie Lennis, the church's administrative assistant. "The school deems who receives the food." The program is designed to feed children who cannot collect their usual free lunch due to the Thanksgiving and Christmas school breaks.
Money for The Backpack Program is raised by the church during the Lenten season through a program called Change for Lent. This year, the church raised $1,800 for holiday programs.
Grace Church in White Lake receives hundreds of calls for help. "We are making our own food boxes with nonperishable items for families," said Mary Kay Mezak, pastor of children ministries. "We also partner with Community Sharing (Outreach Center in Highland). We do an in-house collection of baby and toddler items during the month of December because we know they are in need of those items."
Parishioners of Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church in White Lake donate to the Open Door Outreach Center in Waterford through a hat, mitten and scarf tree located at the church. "Also, for Lighthouse in Clarkston, we're doing a holiday giving tree," said Gayle Buschur, director of outreach at Calvary. "Members take tags off the tree and buy presents that are marked on the tags. We take all the gifts to Lighthouse and wrap them there."
St. Patrick's Parish in White Lake offers a similar program. "We have a giving tree and we cover 15 agencies," said Judy Polesnak, Christian service coordinator. "It's important to give back and not just during the holidays."
All churches are seeking donations, financial and otherwise, to successfully reach White Lake families who are in need of assistance this holiday season. Contact the organizations to determine the best ways to help.