Indeed, this is an extraordinary time of the year. We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, we gather with family and friends, and hopefully we take time to reflect on our blessings. Alternative Christmas Giving offers us the opportunity to embrace our Pine Shores core values: We value living in grace. We value serving others. We value journeying towards Christ-like living and we value acceptance.

Below, you will find descriptions for each of the organizations that our generous members at Pine Shores can support. Our feature mission for this year involves the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael in the Florida panhandle. Pine Shores has partnered with the Christian Community Development Fund (CCDF) located in Port St Joe, Florida. This nonprofit was organized 15 years ago, and provides home renovations at no cost for Gulf County and Mexico Beach, for low to very low income elderly and disabled homeowners. Since Hurricane Michael, CCDF has directed their efforts to helping families who have been displaced from their homes due to storm damage. The surviving homes are in the process of being gutted from the floor to the ceiling. CCDF is expecting renovations to begin in January. Their main objective is to get families back into their home, therefore they are focusing on the bathroom, kitchen and bedroom(s). The rest of the home can wait. They are in need of funds to purchase drywall, toilets, paint, sinks, toilets, bathtubs and hot water heaters.

The SPARCC Stocking tree will be up along with the Alternative Christmas Giving (ACG) tables both in the Narthex and in the Community Center from Sunday, December 2nd through Sunday, December 23rd.

Please take time to stop by one of the ACG tables. Members of the Mission Committee will be there to answer any questions that you may have and take your donations.

Also remember the Cookie Walk, sponsored by our youth on Sunday, December 9th from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Community Center. With your acts of kindness and your generosity, we have the opportunity to make a difference in other people’s lives.

ORGANIZATIONS TO SUPPORT IN 2018

BackPack Kids Program
BackPack Kids is a local program for children in Sarasota and Manatee Counties who qualify for free meals at their school. Pine Shores is partnered with All Faiths Food Bank and Gulf Gate Elementary again this year. For each $160 donation received, one child will receive a backpack of food each Friday during the school year to take home for weekend nutrition. Unfortunately, the number of children in need has grown this year and we are currently providing 80 backpacks a week for children at Gulf Gate Elementary.

Children’s Healthy Pantry
(CHP) was founded in 2010 with the objective of providing at-risk children in Title 1 schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties with additional nourishment each day during the school year. Title 1 schools are those where at least 40% of children are from low income families. In many cases, the healthy snack and the bottle of water each child receives serve as dinner or are taken home to share with younger siblings. CHP is now delivering snacks and bottles of water to twelve Title 1 schools. The total cost per month is $8,000 or $96,000 a year. Unfortunately, this is far short of the thousands of children who are Title 1 eligible. For every $65 raised, CHP can provide for one child for the entire school year. Students should be able to concentrate on their school activities rather than the emptiness in their stomachs. Childhood hunger is everyone’s responsibility.

Heifer International
Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth. Heifer provides livestock, supplies, expertise and support, while project participants reciprocate with hard work and a pledge to pass on what they learn and receive. Recipients of animals and training are expected to share what they learn with their neighbors. Extra agricultural product, such as milk from cows or goats, honey from bees or eggs from chickens, can be both shared within the community and sold at market. This new income, coupled with the training in sustainable practices that our partners receive, allows partners to clothe their families, provide medical care and send their children to school. For a giving menu see information on Alternative Christmas Giving tables.

Day Camp Scholarships
You can help a child be safe, learn and have fun for a day or a week at camp. On days when there is no school and parents have to work, Pine Shores is providing day camps to help meet this community need. Many parents struggle to make ends meet and sometimes are forced to leave their child home alone. The cost is $50 per day or $200 per week to sponsor a child. Please join us as we seek to welcome children and their families to our church in this caring way.

SPARCC
(Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center)
SPARCC provides services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Its mission is to protect victims and to help them regain their independence. Service is provided at no cost and includes: 24-hour hotline, shelter, safety planning, counseling, case management, children’s programs, information and referral, and transitional housing.
The SPARCC Christmas Stocking Tree is a great way to make a meaningful difference. The paper stockings will be hung with care on the trees in the Narthex and in the Community Center.
Each paper stocking is printed with a request for a Gift Card from your favorite merchant. Gift card amounts range from $10 to $50 or more and often people take more than one gift card in support of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Gift cards can be placed in the gift box located near to the SPARCC Tree, left at the Alternative Christmas Giving table or brought to the church office during the week.

Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization
The ECHO Seed Bank provides small sample packets of seed to those working as development leaders on behalf of the poor, primarily in developing countries. For more information about how you can support ECHO stop by the Alternative Christmas Giving table in the Narthex or the Community Center.

Beth El Farmworker Ministry, Inc.
Feeding Mind, Spirit and Body
Beth-El supports the farm working community through its weekly food pantry and community dinners, and through scholarship programs for young and old. For those who hunger for spiritual nurture, Beth-El provides weekly worship services on Sunday and Tuesday in Spanish.

Hurricane Michael Relief
Christian Community Development Fund (CCDF)
ccdf-gulfcounty.org
Our feature mission this year involves the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael in the Florida panhandle. Pine Shores is supporting the Christian Community Development Fund located in Port St Joe, Florida. This nonprofit was organized 15 years ago, and provides home renovations at no cost for Gulf County and Mexico Beach, for low income elderly and disabled homeowners. Since Hurricane Michael, CCDF has directed their efforts to helping families who have been displaced from their homes due to storm damage. The surviving homes are in the process of being gutted from the floor to the ceiling. CCDF is expecting renovations to begin in January 2019. Their main objective is to get families back into their home, therefore they are focusing on the bathroom, kitchen and bedroom(s). Your donation of $25.00 will buy a family a faucet, a $50.00 donation a sink, a $100.00 donation a toilet, a $500.00 donation a bath tub and a $1000 donation a hot water heater.

Christmas Mission and Peace Offering
The Christmas Mission and Peace Offering is a very unique opportunity to remember family or friends by making contributions in their names rather than sending Christmas cards or a casual gift. This year the offering is designated for Relief for Florida Hurricane Victims. Please return your envelopes no later than Monday, December 17th so we can list your gift in the Christmas Eve bulletin. Acknowledgement cards will be available for you to send to that special person you are honoring – just stop by the Alternative Christmas Giving table to pick up an acknowledgement card (s).

Poinsettias
Help decorate the Sanctuary by giving a Poinsettia. This $10 gift gives you an opportunity to honor a loved one or pay tribute to a special person in your life. After the 7:30 p.m. Christmas Eve Service you may take a poinsettia home or you may leave it to be distributed to a member or friend of Pine Shores who is no longer able to attend church. The deadline for purchasing a poinsettia is Monday, December 17, 2018.

Please write the name of the organization to which you would like to donate on your check. Thank you.

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