Volunteers load backpacks for Christmas

Published 2:22 pm Friday, December 29, 2023

On Dec. 21, the Pine Glen Community Church at Craig Field hosted a heartwarming Christmas celebration, distributing 200 backpacks filled with gifts to the local community. 

The event, spearheaded by Community Church Pastor Stephen Smith and his wife Wanda, was made possible through the sponsorship of the Alabama Crenshaw Association in Glenwood Alabama. The Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) played a crucial role, coordinating volunteers and donations, as well as purchasing gifts to fill the backpacks.

Smith expressed that he and his wife’s lifelong dedication to community service, especially for children, motivated this initiative. In addition to the Christmas celebration, the couple runs an after-school and summer school program, aiming to positively influence and shape the next generation. 

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 “My wife and I, we don’t have any kids of our own,” Smith said. “We’ve worked with foster care, and my wife ran a daycare. This is just who we are. It’s all about the children.”

Cars lined up at the venue, and the backpacks were handed out efficiently through a drive-thru system. The event also included a sermon broadcast on 87.7 FM, allowing those in line to interact. Pastor Smith encouraged attendees to honk their car horns as a sign of solidarity and celebration.

Whitney Exline, a mission coordinator for the WMU, shared that the group’s efforts involved volunteers from six or seven churches, with year-round preparations for this event. The backpacks, which catered to boys and girls between the ages of 3 and 17, contained essentials like school supplies and clothes, as well as toys, snacks, a Bible, and a copy of the story of Christmas.

The Christmas celebration organized by the Pike Glen Community Church and its partners brightened the holiday season for many families and exemplified the spirit of giving and community support.