By Wendy Weiss, Programs and Membership Coordinator
For many years, Westside has contributed to the gift program at Knoxville Adaptive Education Center. Organized by Sue Draper, many Westsiders volunteered their time for the students’ “shopping” for gifts day each December. This is the first year we have not participated, and I have been asked, “Now how do we give to our community?!”
Westside has coordinated several ways to give this year:
The Mitten Giving Tree
On our holiday tree in the sanctuary, we’ve hung paper mittens with items that are needed for various organizations that we have worked with over the years. Come in and take a mitten and then go shopping for the item on it. Bring the gift item back by Tuesday, Dec. 24, and put it under the tree. We’ll get the items where they’re going for the holidays!
Samantha Monday is an addiction case manager through the Knox County Sheriff’s Department. Her program helps people in transition out of the prison system get the essentials needed to help build their lives back. Donation items include bus passes and clothing.
The Humane Society of Tennessee Valley has played a big role in our summer camps over the years, so we’re including them in our giving this year. Suggested items include toys and Kanuba beds for the dogs and cats.
Bring in non-perishable food items and put them in the white wicker basket in the sanctuary (across from the kitchen). The items go to the Farragut Christian Church’s food pantry. Each Thursday evening, the pantry is open to provide food to people in our local community.
Wondering what to do with items you no longer need and would like to donate? Take the items to Karm. When they process your donations, you can ask them to link it to Westside UU Church. KARM will then send KARM gift cards to Westside which we can then donate to individuals and organizations who can use them.
Christmas Eve Service Offering
Each year at our Christmas Eve Service, our offertory collection goes to the Minister’s Discretionary Fund. This fund allows Rev. Carol to give generously as needs come up in our Westside community. In the past, this fund has helped those going through an unexpected financial hardship, like a medical expense or loss of employment.
If you come to the service this Sunday (12/15), you’ll get a handout to remind you as well. You’re welcome to donate directly to these organizations and many of these suggestions can be given to all year long. Thanks so much for sharing your “Warm Hearts, Open Minds, Caring Hands”! Happiest of Holidays to you!