Every year at Christmas, families gather together to spend time with one another and to exchange gifts of love. Some families are more fortunate than others, but even in our small town of Grenada, some families are burdened with hardships that prevent them from giving the so popular physical gifts of toys, dolls, games, and sports items. To help our neighbors, we at All Saints' Episcopal church have created an outreach program to provide these physical items to the families that must chose between a meal or a toy for their children at Christmas.
Named in honor of Saint Nicholas, who is said to have given away his entire inheritance to others and gave selflessly to children in need, the hope of St. Nicholas Treasure Chest is that at least one parent and/or child will experience the gift of the love of Christ during the Christmas season.
With humble beginnings that grew out of desire to reach out to children and families who might otherwise go without gifts at Christmas, over thirty years ago, volunteers gathered in a parishioner’s basement to repaint older wooden and tin toys and distributed them to children in need. Over the years, the ministry has grown exponentially in the number of children and families served, the number of gifts and toys provided and the number of volunteers or “elves” who help to share the love of Christ in real and tangible ways. With the hands and hearts of many and the financial offerings of individuals and businesses across Grenada County, St. Nicholas reached an all-time high in serving over 1000 children in 2012
To prepare for this epic charitable event, our “elves” collect toys and donations year round. And, in the fall, we make an annual request donations of toys and funds, receiving donations at certain locations around town. Many community organizations, churches and schools hold special fundraisers and gift collections, everything from board games and dolls to basketballs and remote control cars (no guns, please). In addition, teams of volunteers shop for gifts at local stores in Grenada and surrounding communities and seek grants and toy offerings from toy makers and distributors, such as Hasbro and Fred’s. Gifts and toys are collected and stored pro bono by the good people of Ashley Furniture and Garrett Storage.
Then, on a given day, the local National Guard Armory is transformed into “St. Nick’s Workshop,” where parents/guardians who have pre-registered come to select a few gifts and toys for their children. Countless volunteers/elves help with shopping, registration and making the distribution of gifts possible.
Since St. Nicholas Treasure Chest is run entirely by volunteers from All Saints and the greater Grenada community and any operating expenses are covered by the All Saints budget, one hundred percent (100%) of the monetary donations to St. Nick go toward the purchase of children's toys and gifts.
Our parish coordinator for St. Nicholas Treasure Chest is Mary Duncan Hall. Others currently involved in planning and coordination include Brad Garrett, Candy Garrett, Tommy Garrett, Amy Harlow, Lauren Leslie, Lori Miller, Beth Muselwhite and Shirley Vaughan.
To learn more, to volunteer or to make a donation to St. Nicholas Treasure Chest, please contact us at the church office.