WEST WARWICK – After serving nearly 800 children through the Christmas Blessings program last December, Christian Hill Community Church is working to ensure another bright holiday season for children in West Warwick and beyond.
“It’s all about the kids,” Michelle Messier, the church’s outreach director, said last week.
The “Christmas in July” pasta dinner on August 6 will raise money for the program, which donates new toys for children of all ages to be gifted at Christmastime.
In addition to dinner, next month’s event will see a variety of drag baskets. Christian Hill is currently collecting items—things like gift cards, concert tickets, and games—to add to those baskets, or community members are invited to make their own raffle baskets to donate to the cause.
Food donations – including wraps, salad, pasta, meatballs and desserts – are also sought.
The hope is that the fundraising event, to be held in Christian Hill, will end up costing nothing so that every dollar raised can be dedicated to buying gifts for children whose families can use the support this Christmas.
“All proceeds will go to the purchase of toys,” Messier said. “Everything we do goes back to the children.”
The church is also collecting donations of new unwrapped games through July, and those who bring a game to dinner will receive five free raffle tickets.
With more families than ever expected to serve Christmas Blessings During the upcoming holiday season, every game and every dollar counts.
Prior to 2021, the Church’s Christmas Blessings Program would donate toys to up to 200 children each holiday season. But then last year, after the intervention when the Christmas organization dissolved, that number skyrocketed.
About 5,850 toys were distributed last year to 779 children from West Warwick, Coventry and elsewhere. Each child also received a stockpile stuffed with goodies.
“It was the best event we ever had,” Messier said of last December’s Shopping Day, where families were invited to peruse a huge selection of toys to choose gifts for their children. “It was absolutely unbelievable.”
And in 2022, as more people realize that Christian Hill chose where Christmas ended, Messier said she expects that number to be even higher.
Founded in 1979, Christmas Is has worked for over 40 years to help struggling families by providing them with gifts each December. An average of 900 West Warwick children are provided by the nonprofit organization each year.
Messier added that based on the current economic challenges families across the country are facing, he is likely to seek more help this year than the usual holiday season.
With Christian Hill’s Outreach Ministries involved in a range of causes, the “Christmas in July” pasta dinner will be the only fundraising event of the year for the Christmas Blessings Program. Hopefully, the money raised from that, along with the proceeds from the local firefighters union’s annual boot campaign as well as individual donations of toys, will be enough to ensure a merry Christmas morning for the many kids.
“We just want to bless the kids,” Messier said. “This is about children.”
Tickets for the “Christmas in July” event are $15 for adults, $7 for children ages 3 to 10, free for children 2 and younger, and available online at www.tinyurl.com/CHCCBless. The event will be held at Christian Hill Community Church, 56 Tuog Street, West Warwick, Saturday, August 6 from 5-7 p.m.
Tickets will also be available for purchase at West Warwick Senior Center and at Christian Hill.
And those with new, unwrapped toys to donate — even after the summer drive — can leave them in Christian Hill’s lobby on Sunday. Any company interested in hosting a toy collection fund should contact outreach ministries.