West Cullman Baptist Assoc. kicks off Christmas in August ministry

Example backpack items (Heather Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – As part of its Christmas backpack ministry, the West Cullman Baptist Association (WCBA) kicked off its Christmas in August drive at Northside Baptist Church Wednesday night. The drive starts in August and ends Oct. 28, ensuring there is plenty of time to deliver the packs to their intended regions and distribute them to children in need. The packs from this drive, sponsored by the Alabama Women’s Missionary Union (WMU), will be sent to the Mississippi River Ministry to help underprivileged children living near the Mississippi River. Bro. Dennis Trimble said he hopes Northside and the rest of the WCBA can put together at least 600 packs for this year’s ministry.

The kick-off event hosted presentations from members of other WCBA churches, featuring a sermon from Rev. Jonathan Reid of Sardis Baptist.

In the sermon, Rev. Reid praised the backpack ministry and the good works that go into sponsoring it every year, saying, “Good works are proof of the faith we claim to be a part of.”

In talking about the intersection of faith and good deeds, he cited James 2:15-17: “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well-fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

He related this back not only to the families in need that the ministry serves, but also members within the nearby community who may be struggling only a few hundred yards away from the church doors, saying that the Church is called to serve the community and spread the faith through love and action.

The backpacks being collected are sorted by gender and age range; 2-3, 4-7, 8-10, 11-14 and 15-17. Suggested gifts include age-appropriate toys (with extra batteries included for toys that require them), art supplies, hygiene items (boxes of bar soap must be in a plastic bag in case the soap melts), a Child or Teen Bible, hard candy, non-perishable food items (ministry workers stated that a lot of kids were very happy to receive boxes of Pop-Tarts) and warm clothes. Prohibited items include perishable food, food containing nuts, knives and items that can easily be broken or crushed. All backpacks and the items inside MUST BE NEW. 

Special bands indicating the age and gender of the backpack recipient must also be displayed on the pack in order to be accepted, and a copy of The Christmas Story should be placed inside. These can be ordered from the Alabama WMU website at www.alabamawmu.org/christmasbackpacks. The backpacks can be brought to participating churches or to the WCBA office (601 Cleveland Ave. SW, Cullman, 35055). The backpacks will be accepted through Oct. 28 and will be distributed throughout the Mississippi River region around the second week of December.

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Heather Mann