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Christmas Cheer Sign Ups Due By Monday

Epworth Center Director Darla Schnegg invites area families to a Christmas ‘shopping’ event this December, where donated items and toys will be available. to provide Christmas cheer for those who might otherwise go without. The last sign-up will be held Monday. (Photo by Robert A. DeFrank)

BETHESDA — Project Manna Christmas will provide Christmas cheer for area families once again this year. The event is held at the Epworth Center, where families who might not otherwise have the means can enjoy a shopping experience to pick out supplies and toys.

“We hold it every year,” Epworth Center Director Darla Schnegg said. “We have sign-ups and they’re able to sign up for food, for a Christmas dinner, and some extras to hold them through the rest of the year. We have a toy shop, and parents can come in and shop for their child and they can have them wrapped and everything. It helps the parents with the pride issue and dignity.”

Schnegg said the families who fill out forms include a wish-list of toys their children would like.

“We put them on angels, and a lot of the churches around will take so many angels and buy, and that’s how we get donations for the toys and the clothing,” she said.

The Epworth Center is a United Methodist Church ministry. It also works in partnership with the Real Life Community of Faith church in Bethesda.

“We already have almost 70 (families) signed up, and we have … sign-ups to go,” she said. “We had a record at the food pantry. Project Manna for the month of October, we served 76 families that were in need.”

She said last year almost 100 families were served. She expects to see 120 or more families this year.

“What we give out is laundry detergent, toilet paper, bars of soap. We have any non-perishable canned goods. Pastas, macaroni and cheese. Just whatever people want to donate, we can take,” she said. “Everything is by donation and what I can get in the way of going to the store, I try to get the best deals I can. I’m always looking for churches and individuals to donate to the program.”

Schnegg said the holiday spirit can be felt during those events.

“It’s upbeat, especially at Christmastime,” she said. “A lot of laughter. A lot of joy. Just being able to help people. … It’s just a wonderful place to be.”

Families are asked to provide identification. Families with children are asked to provide a report card as proof the children are living with them. They are also asked to provide clothing and shoe sizes.

“We service the Union Local School District and some in Barnesville,” she said.

All donations must be in by Dec. 1. The toy shopping day is Dec. 7. Food pickup is Dec. 13.

The final sign-up is 9 a.m. to noon Monday at the Epworth Center. Those who are unable to make it that day may set up an appointment another day by calling 740-484-4708.

Schnegg said they are also in the process of restarting the Sower Work Mission, which involves helping neighbors with home repairs. This includes painting, building ramps for people with disabilities, and roof and exterior repairs.

“With the help of the Epworth board and my volunteers, we’re going to get that program back up and running next spring and summer,” she said. “Whatever the neighbor needs to help them with their home repairs.”

She said the center itself is a haven to reflect and pray. It is located at 301 N. Main St. For more information, call 740-484-4708.

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