Deena C. Bouknight Contributing Writer
A few times a year, the 500-plus congregation of Discover Church volunteers throughout Macon County to assist in such efforts as cleaning and landscaping schools in time for school openings, painting inside and outside of nonprofit organization buildings, collecting clothing, and much more. Appropriately named, “I Love My Town,” the initiative is a community-focused effort which takes place instead of church service on Dec. 4. The event provides the community an opportunity to provide Christmas gifts and practical items for foster and underprivileged children and families – as well as supporting needs in third-world countries.
Julie Adams, wife of one of Discover Church’s pastors, John Adams, helps oversee
logistics for I Love My Town Christmas.
“Last year Discover provided gifts for more than 250 children. It’s definitely a community effort, and anyone is invited to I Love My Town Christmas, not just people who attend the church,” said Julie.
She explained that Discover Church partners with such entities as Macon and Jackson County Department of Social Services, Swain Family Resource Center, Macon Program for Progress, and schools in Macon, Rabun (Georgia), and Graham counties.
“The goal is to make sure no kids are left out,” said Adams. “In late October, we reached out to local principals and school counselors and asked for names of kids and families who might go without any presents on Christmas. The schools provide information for kids in need (i.e., clothes sizes, shoe sizes, and a particular gift or interest they have). As a church, we cancel regular service, spend a few minutes worshipping together on that Sunday morning, and then anyone can choose ‘ornaments’ with information about the children so they can go out and shop.
“As a church, we especially have a huge heart for children in the foster system, and for foster families,” she added. “One thing I love about I Love My Town Christmas is that the gifts are given with no strings attached … gifts are given to the parents so they can wrap and give the gifts on Christmas. So, in the kids’ eyes, these gifts are not from Discover Church but from their families.”
I Love My Town Christmas takes place Dec. 4 for both services: 9:15 and 11 a.m.