Celebrating The Giving Depot!
It’s been 14 years of the Giving Depot at GFC! The Giving Depot began in 2004 with us coming together with a local partner called Boys 2 Men, which changed to Rise Up! with a renewed vision. In the early years of the Giving Depot, we took 5-6 weeks to transform an empty building across town, and these days we transform GFC in 3 days! We started with the Rise Up! kids coming in three shifts over the day, and this year we hosted them all in one big party together. We started with people giving random gifts, to building a specific gift list based around the families attending. We went from having to go out to buy missing gifts to make sure the “store” was full, to the gift tags flying off our trees and having more than we could imagine.
One thing the Giving Depot has shown, is that our church body has grown in generosity over the years. Offering a hand-up at Christmas to the kids at Rise Up! has grown us in our readiness to give generously. And because of this, we are able to expand on the Giving Depot as we did this year. We added a Parent Shopper Shift at the end of the day, that served 10 parents from Mountain View Elementary. These parents went through a similar program – they served others, and in doing so earned the ability to shop for their family’s Christmas in the Giving Depot store. These parents worked hard, were enthusiastic about participating, and we were glad to welcome them at this year’s Giving Depot. What a joy to be a small part of their Christmas this year!
There are some things that have stayed the same through the years – the kids earning ‘giving bucks’ to spend in the store, family portraits and Christmas crafts. Work nights and snack crews. Gift sorting parties and groups helping with tear-down. We had just the number of volunteers needed this year, and everyone was appreciated even if the job seemed small or unimportant. It may take 300 people working to make it happen, but it takes many hundreds more to purchase the gifts for the store. It took a cleaning crew that pitched in this year with such enthusiasm the entire building was transformed back for Sunday services in less than two hours. It took people in a packed room wrapping gifts til’ they were sweating. It took almost 30 people to put on Jingle Jam:The Big Give! This was the Christmas event with an important message that included the Rise Up! families, the Mountain View families, and GFC families all together – right in the middle of the Giving Depot!
And so I close with this, a heartfelt appreciation for the volunteers rehearsing songs, painting ornaments, lighting trees, serving lunch, and much, much more. It was just another Giving Depot – except that it wasn’t. It was yet another opportunity to share the love of Christ with our neighbors. And that never grows old.
Lois Martin, Outreach Director