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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Operation Christmas Backpack - Part 2

Several people pictured here are carrying an Operation Christmas Backpack

Have you ever watched the movie The Visual Bible - Matthew?  This is one of my favorite portrayals of Jesus because it clearly depicts the absolute love and joy on Jesus' face when he healed the people and performed various miracles.  The actor that played Jesus did a great job of capturing what I imagine Jesus looked like at those moments.

On Christmas day we handed out 40 Operation Christmas Backpacks.  As my family and I distributed them I thought about Jesus and the feelings he must have felt when he helped people; I felt such an inexplicable joy in my heart.  The only explanation I can offer for this is knowing that I am created in the image of God and God is love and when I help people I am offering God's love to one of His precious children.  I thought about God's love for each and every one of those individuals that were standing before me on Christmas morning. 

We began our day driving around Downtown Cleveland along with another family.  We were able to distribute 4 backpacks to individuals there who were sleeping on the street.

The night before a local news station had a segment about various churches that were offering meals on Christmas morning.  I printed out the list from their website and shared the information with the other 9 families that were distributing Operation Christmas Backpacks that morning.  When we were Downtown, one of the families called me to let me know that they had distributed all of their backpacks at one of the churches and more were desperately needed.  We drove to the church and distributed not only the backpacks but many, many bakery items which Costco Wholesale had donated.

I have to share with you that we were BLOWN AWAY with the amount of food both Costco and Buehler's donated towards our outreach program.  On Christmas Eve, the family that had picked up the bakery items from Costco came to our home to give us several bins full of breads, croissants, and muffins.  The back of their truck was filled to capacity!  In addition, I believe Buehler's donated meat trays, shrimp and other food items which some of our other families distributed. 

Prior to our distributing these items on Christmas morning, I said a prayer to God asking Him to bring the needy onto our path.  He most certainly answered my prayer!  In fact, even after handing out the 40 backpacks, there was still a need for more.  (One of our families had distributed backpacks in another area in need.)  I pray next year we'll have even more Operation Christmas Backpacks to distribute.

Below are a few links to some of the news articles about St. Augustine church.  This is the church where we distributed the food and the backpacks and prayed with some of the individuals.  In Fox8 Cleveland's article they share a quote from a man named Andy who was one of the families from our group.  David Whitt, also quoted in the article, in the TV video segment had one of our backpacks on his shoulder. 

Fox8 Cleveland
Channel 5 News

This was our families' favorite part of our Christmas day.  I pray that this will be a tradition that my family will carry on for generations.

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