Kids Christmas Shop lets children share in the joy of giving

Published 10:27 am Saturday, December 24, 2022

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Father’s Tabernacle Worldwide Kingdom Ministries in Manns Harbor held its 9th Annual Kids Christmas Shop on December 12, a unique event that lets children shop for presents for their family members.

“Our community is blessed with so many outlets that provide gifts for children who otherwise may not have a lot under the tree due to hard times. We decided nine years ago to take a different approach by making sure that the children got to participate in the giving side of Christmas and not just the receiving side,” said Erren Gibbs, one of the program coordinators.

“Our lead Pastor DuWayne Gibbs remembers doing something similar at Manteo Baptist Church when he was a child and to this day, cherishes the feeling that it gave him to be able to give back to his mom and to help her make his younger siblings’ Christmas that much better!” Erren said.

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About 150 kids attended the Christmas Shop, shopping for about three to five gifts each, depending on family size.

Upon arrival, children or their parents filed out a form with family member names and ages. With the help of community volunteer “elves,” children went shopping for each family member, selecting from hundreds of items including candles and bathrobes for mom, tools and travel mugs for dad and an assortment of Legos, baby dolls and toys for siblings.

Many gifts were donated by local businesses as well as local families who supported the church’s “Stuff the Limo” event held outside of Ace Hardware, Family Dollar and Dollar General.

“We are blessed with many sponsors in our community as well as local families and churches who have sewn into the vision,” said Erren. “One of our Pastors, Roberta Gibbs, takes lead on this project and works year-round in collecting things she sees on sale or clearance and is a wizard at stretching the budget with an abundance of gifts. We call it God Math when the numbers just do not make sense,” she added.

Children received help wrapping each item and left feeling excited and proud to give gifts to loved ones. “This really does give the children a sense of pride and ownership and inclusion on Christmas morning. We take delight in watching these kids get so excited about picking that ‘perfect gift’ for mom, or when they see Paw Patrol on the table and their little brother just LOVES Paw Patrol! These children, even the young toddlers, get joy out of helping our elves wrap and stick tape and name tags (even upside down) on their treasures,” Erren said.

Parents waited in the fellowship hall while children shopped and were treated to a wide array of warm beverages, cookies and snacks.

After the event, one Facebook comment said, “What a beautiful event. The tireless, selfless, cheerful giving of the coordinators was balm for the heart and soul weary of unkindness in the world! Very thankful for all who share the Light and Love.”