‘Helping Hands’ in many forms for the holidays

FBC features special outreach

Helping Hands ministry member Kory Reese was excited about helping wrap the Christmas gifts he was able to purchase for his family, thanks to the generosity of First Baptist Concord.
As the name suggests, members of the Helping Hands ministry at First Baptist Concord are typically assisting others — but recently the group enjoyed the church’s generosity in the spirit of the Christmas season.

“Typically we make Christmas presents for family members,” said Diane Knudsen, executive director for the program, which provides productive activities and partnerships for special needs adults. “But this year, for the first time, they were able to shop at Knox Area Rescue Ministries’ Christmas Store and were able to pick out anything they wanted for their families.”

Fourteen of the program’s 23 members visited the pop-up store near Cedar Bluff Road in November for the shopping spree, which was funded using KARM gift cards provided by First Baptist Concord through KARM’s Corners of the Your Field program.

“We are excited to partner with hundreds of local churches, like First Baptist Concord, through the program,” said Evan Crass, KARM director of Partner Engagement. “Every time a donation is made at KARM Stores, a donor can name his or her local church to receive gift cards from that donation. Quarterly, gift cards to KARM Stores are delivered to these partners so they can use them to help those they know.”

Elizabeth “Liz” Adams was among the shoppers, and said she purchased gifts for her parents.

“I hope it we can do it every year,” Adams said.

“I love Christmas,” said Suzi Gillen, who added she shopped for “my mom, my dad and my sister.”

“It was different,” Christine Floyd noted. “It was a fun trip.”

After the shopping was completed, Helping Hands members got a little help wrapping the gifts, which will be presented to their families during the group’s annual Christmas Banquet, to be held this year Monday, Dec. 9, at Calhoun’s in Oak Ridge.

It was not the first time Helping Hands members had worked with KARM, as the group volunteers monthly at the Sherlake Road location, where they help with sorting and hanging clothes.

Knudsen said the program has been just one more uniting force in their lives.

“We love on them and they love on us right back,” Knudsen said. “Through these partnerships, Helping Hands can walk alongside others in the community, and it is all woven together.”