Giv­ing back

Sch­warzwald Lutheran Church holds toy drive for lo­cal fam­i­lies

The Boyertown Area Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Har­ri­son Otto hotto@berksmont­news.com

Some places in the com­mu­nity have cho­sen to em­brace the spirit of giv­ing dur­ing the hol­i­days.

Sch­warzwald Lutheran Church hosted a toy drive on Tues­day, Dec. 14, to help Exeter Food Pantry fam­i­lies dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son. Par­ents who would nor­mally not be able to af­ford presents had the chance to get toys for their chil­dren free-of-charge.

“The real church is out­side,” said Pas­tor Scott Staub, who started and or­ga­nized the event. “I think the more you help the peo­ple in the com­mu­nity, the less they’re wor­ried about whether or not they’ll eat that day, or if they’ll have hous­ing, or cloth­ing to keep them warm.”

When Pas­tor Staub de­cided to help for the Exeter Food Pantry, he had reached out to var­i­ous lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions to help do­nate al­most 2,000 toys for a toy drive that would as­sist par­ents in af­ford­ing Christ­mas gifts. The food bank, which ser­vices over 275 fam­i­lies, gave fly­ers to their pa­trons in midNovem­ber ad­ver­tis­ing the drive.

“If you want some­thing to be suc­cess­ful, you need to have a cause. So our cause, I fig­ured with the area churches and busi­nesses, would be to help out the Exeter Food Pantry fam­i­lies,” said Staub.

Sally Sass­man, pub­lic re­la­tions man­ager for the church, men­tioned that there were ap­prox­i­mately 300 phone calls from fam­i­lies con­cern­ing the drive, how­ever only around 50 fam­i­lies showed up to col­lect toys. De­spite the low turnout, she de­scribed the event as a “great out­pour­ing of gift-giv­ing.”

As guests ar­rived, they were greeted at the door, and had the op­por­tu­nity to lis­ten to Christ­mas mu­sic in the sanc­tu­ary be­fore shuf­fling into the next room filled with ta­bles and boxes filled with toys.

“It was im­por­tant to the pas­tor to have the peo­ple come into the sanc­tu­ary and have some quiet time be­fore they shopped,” said vol­un­teer Bar­bara Quick, who is also a mem­ber of the church. “There was Christ­mas mu­sic play­ing in the back­ground, and peo­ple were sit­ting and re­flect­ing.”

An­other vol­un­teer and mem­ber of the church, Carol Gun­zel­mann, was happy the church could help fam­i­lies in need a lit­tle ex­tra dur­ing the hol­i­days.

“We knew we weren’t sup­ply­ing all of their Christ­mas gifts, but we are at least help­ing them out so their kids could have nice things,” she said.

Dur­ing ser­vices at Sch­warzwald Lutheran, Pas­tor Staub talks about some­thing he likes to call “The Rip­ple Ef­fect” — that the value of help­ing the com­mu­nity is com­pa­ra­ble to rip­ples af­ter drop­ping a stone in the wa­ter.

He ex­plained that it is why he put so much ef­fort into or­ga­niz­ing the toy drive, as well as a cloth­ing drive ear­lier this year for Eric’s An­gel’s, a fundraiser for vet­er­ans.

“You make the im­me­di­ate im­pact where you’re at, then it rip­ples out from there” said Staub. “If you make sure the peo­ple in your com­mu­nity are thriv­ing, that al­lows them to give and help out oth­ers out­side the com­mu­nity.”

HAR­RI­SON OTTO — FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Vol­un­teers Lauren Smith and Nancy Hess-Smith as­sisted guests dur­ing the toy drive at Sch­warzwald Lutheran Church.

HAR­RI­SON OTTO — FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Sch­warzwald Lutheran Church, along with other lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions, col­lected more than 2,000 toys for fam­i­lies in need in the Exeter area.

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