The Grand Oak Mission Center is offering a free “Christmas store” to their low-income neighbors that participate in the activities of the ministry center.
David Jackson, Grand Oak Mission director, said they set aside usable gifts, that people donate and people may “shop” for items for their family members. He said it is a blessing to the community, and they can choose up to three gifts for each of their family members who are registered with the center.
Director of Missions for Green County Baptist Association, Josh Hall, said the center provides food, clothing and hygiene items to those in need all year round. But at Christmas time they have this store where the neighbors can shop free of charge.
Jackson said the center is in an older part of Springfield, in the southwest quadrant of town, but their ministry extends to all of Greene County. They do not distribute furniture or appliances, but they try to have the things people need to get by.
He said the gifts in the store are refurbished and cleaned up before being stocked in the store.
More than presents
In late November, a lady named Sharon was there, and she took some gifts to her car. She then returned to the center and started asking one the center volunteers spiritual questions. That day she made a profession of faith in Christ. She had two teenage daughters who needed help, and she was grateful for the assistance. Earlier the center had helped her obtain groceries so she could provide a Thanksgiving dinner as well.
Jackson and the center volunteers consider this ministry to be vital to their community.
He said these gifts are tools to help them begin a relationship with the neighbors. About 60–100 families are helped each year with the Christmas store.
Jackson reported that about 15 people make professions of faith throughout the year at Grand Oak Mission. They begin each day with prayer for the people that they serve.
Like many communities there are problems with drug abuse, poverty and lack of sufficient housing, and they try to be a lighthouse for Jesus in neighborhoods where some people just don’t have enough money to get by each week.
They have 35 food and hygiene items they can give out if a person is registered for their assistance. They occasionally have meat to give away, but most of it is non-perishable items.
Jackson concluded, “We are very thankful for the resources given to support people in our community.”