Christmas spirit beyond the church walls PDF Print E-mail
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Religion Editor   
Friday, 27 December 2013 10:09
Many area churches show their spirit for supporting others through the adoption of area families to help make their Christmas season brighter.
Those churches may approach their giving in different ways, but the goal is the same - to show God's love for humanity by giving back to the community at Christmas.
What follows is a brief look at two of the efforts this year.

The 15 bicycles donated to the Angel Tree Project in Pemberville by the “bike angel” sit in the sanctuary of Pemberville United Methodist Church waiting to be delivered to children of families adopted by the project. (Photo provided)
Pemberville angels community effort
One community effort is the Pemberville Angel Tree Project. Marty Braucksieck says she has been organizing that project for the last 12 years.
"The word has indeed spread since more people and organizations get involved every year," the organizer said.
She said this year the project was blessed with the fact that they had more people asking for an angel to buy for, than they had angels to give out.
She said that was not an issue, noting, "There are other ways they could help if they chose to and many did."
Braucksieck says this is a joint project that Eastwood Schools, the community, and all four Pemberville churches are involved in.
She said 45 Eastwood families were helped this year which represented 116 children.
"We connected with a Girl Scout Troop ( Troop # 0854) from the Eastwood area under the leadership of Wendy Thornton and Jamie Wonderly about three years ago. They take my perishable grocery list and money that has been donated and purchase items that are needed.
This year's shopping trip took them to Bowling Green to buy groceries for the families. After bringing the groceries back to Pemberville United Methodist Church which houses the angel tree project each year, the volunteer Scouts and families help us sort it and organize it for the various families.
Many "angels" work throughout the year on the project and a special benefit was held early this month to boost our budget. One "angel" donated 15 bicycles for some of the children in the project.

Brianna Budd (left) and Lyndsey Urbaniak carry gifts for the Blessed John XXIII Parish Giving Tree project at Perrysburg. There were 50 families adopted by parish community this year. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
Perrysburg church 'Giving Tree'
Blessed John XXIII Catholic Community in Perrysburg, this year supported 50 area families with gifts, hams, baked goods and more through its annual Giving Tree.
"The members of our parish are extremely generous and supportive," said Shirley Urbaniak, who helps coordinate the project.
At the beginning of Advent, a bare tree at the parish center is adorned with ornaments. Each ornament represents one gift requested by a member of one of the families.
Parish families will take the ornament and buy the requested gift. The gifts are wrapped with the ornament attached to the gift so that it gets to the right person.
Other members of the parish supply hams, make homemade cookies, breads and other goodies; while others supply other items for the adopted families. Additional volunteer effort is required to deliver the packages to the various families.
This year, Urbaniak noted that more than 600 different items including the gifts and food, were delivered last Saturday to the families.
"It is truly a full parish effort," she said.
The parish was founded July 1, 2005, and the Giving Tree project was begun that first Christmas. The number of families adopted has grown over the years.
The church also supplies food baskets at both Easter and Thanksgiving for many of the families.

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