Give a Gift 2020 began life as a conversation about what we could do as Gateway Church, to bless the community around us in the middle of another COVID lockdown. We spoke to various people and various ideas were thrown around but it was through interacting with staff at local primary schools that we got a sense of how much people were struggling especially when looking towards Christmas.
A time and season that is supposed to be marked by joy and hope as we remember Christ being born, has become for many a time of stress, worry and increasing financial strain. And in order to help alleviate this need, in partnership with the primary schools around us, ‘Give a Gift’ was born.
There was a massively quick turnaround of only a few weeks to collect all the gifts needed for the families and then wrap and deliver them. We also wanted to embody one of our key values at Gateway which is generosity so we committed to giving each child three gifts rather than one.
The Church responded magnificently with presents descending on the Riverside Centre around the clock over those few weeks, as well as all the people who came to our ‘wrapping parties’ to wrap the gifts.
Not only the Church community got involved, however, and generous grant funding from councillors Bill Barrett and Kalysha Howard-Smith enabled us to plug gaps in the presents and also commit to providing gifts to the KCC fostering agency for their over 16’s and anyone coming into the fostering system over Christmas.
Others from the Ashford community and local area got involved and donated gifts as well as those further afield such as parents and staff at Tiger Primary School in Maidstone.
When all was said and done we had provided gifts for 94 children aged 0-18. They all received 3 gifts each, so that was a provision of a whopping 282 wrapped gifts in a few short weeks. On top of that we were able to deliver an entire car load of gifts to KCC fostering agency as well as some special projects for individual families with specific needs.
As we have looked back on Give a Gift 2020 I am reminded of the words of Jesus in Acts 20:35 that “It is more blessed to give than receive.” As we interacted with people bringing gifts to the Riverside and those who accepted the gifts on behalf of those receiving them, this verse rang ever more true.
As a community of people who at Christmas time celebrate the coming of the One who gave everything that we may receive everything in return; it seems fitting and important that we too would be about giving to others who otherwise wouldn’t receive.
So, with all this in mind, we are running Give a Gift again for 2021! Launching on Sunday 31st October, why not get involved this Christmas with these three simple steps:
From the 31st October, fill in our very quick form as to what gifts you are committing to give.
Between the 31st October to 30th November drop your presents off at The Riverside Centre, Clockhouse, Ashford, TN23 4YN, Monday to Friday 9.30-4pm or Sunday 9.30-12.30pm.
Or give financially, and the church will buy the gifts on your behalf.
Payment reference 'Give a Gift'
Gateway Church Ashford, Sort Code: 20 02 62, Account No: 60507547
Let Sam know you've transferred funds (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Then the first week of December our volunteers will sort, wrap and deliver your gifts to schools all around Ashford. Join us in giving a gift this Christmas!
Gateway Church Ashford | 01233 638866 | email@example.com
www.gatewaychurchashford.co.uk/giveagift | The Riverside Centre, Clockhouse, Ashford, Kent, TN23 4YN