Today is Thursday, December 30th, 2021; Karen's Korner #4603

My sister Jill and some of her church members enjoy 'sharing Christmas' with those with needs. She has written here what they experienced.

It's a good story!

"Every year, our church in Lake Stevens Washington asks for donations from the congregation for Christmas baskets.  People in the congregation send in names/addresses of people they know or connect with that could use a 'hand up' at Christmas.  This year was no exception, Twelve names were turned in.  None of the names were people who attend our church; just people who needed a little help.
"We set shopping day for December 21st, with delivery to be the next day. On Sunday, the 19th, $815 has been contributed. Not as much as usual, but not a surprise in our continuing Covid environment.  Some years, we had close to $1200!
"I went to Target to get tote bins to use as baskets. Here the 'blessings' began. Tote bins should have been $7 each x 12 or $84 plus tax.  After the cashier rang me up, I looked at the receipt at the door of the store.  She hadn't charged for 12, only 7. I went to the customer service counter and the person there offhandedly asked me if I had enlarged my Christmas decoration collection and needed new storage - - twelve red Christmas totes!  When I explained their use, she looked at me for minute and said, if you know the church's tax ID number, we can donate the other five.  And so they did!  
"Off to the grocery store four volunteers went on the 21st with a list in hand. Items on the list were for a Christmas dinner like a ham, stuffing mix, carrots, etc along with some staples like cereal, cans of soup, and other items. The store we shopped at, Fred Meyer, owned by Kroger, started out by giving us a $100 gift card for shopping there. We were a little worried because the hams alone would be about $40 each, accounting for $480 of our money!  When we finished, we had six carts, piled high and loaded down. We stopped by the customer service counter to find out where we should check out. One of the customers in the customer service line asked what we were doing and we told them. She turned to her line neighbors and said  'I bet we have some money to help them, don't we?' and proceeded to collect $25 for us!
"Off we went to checkout. The store manager met us and thanked us for shopping there. And he gave us three check-out persons, two with remote bar code readers, and an assistant manager to help. Such nice people! The assistant manager made sure check out was going well, bagging was efficient, carry out people assigned to help us get the massive amount of groceries to our cars and at the end, he said the store would like to give us the hams for $1.27 per pound or $13 or $14 each!  A huge savings! The total was $1300, but with discounts and the gift card from the store, our total was $815. A coincidence that it matched the $815 that our congregation donated??  And the bin cost was covered by the $25 collected in the customer service line, plus a last minute donation that had come in!
"But wait! One of the elders called while we were checking out. A $250 donation had come for this project from Thrivent, a Lutheran financial agency. So we also purchased a $20 gift card for each family to be included with a card from our church, inviting them to Christmas services.
"Now I suppose you'd like to hear that everyone receiving a basket arrived at Christmas services?  No, not the case. But that wasn't what we did this for.  Our church believes we should 'Love God, Love People, and Live Like Jesus'.  And this project covers all three!"