During this season of giving, one local church has made a difference to many people.
The congregation of Middlesboro’s Locus Church has been delivering Christmas meals and paying for grocery bills for unsuspecting recipients.
Pastor Gary Miller says that he happened to see a YouTube video of a similar giveaway and last year showed the video to the church congregation.
The church’s mission statement is “to make a significant impact in the 85 percent who are unchurched in our area.” The church loved the idea and decided to make a positive impact on as many people as possible.
“We asked people to make a donation of $19.95 as their first Christmas gift,” Miller said.
The gifting paid off, as they were able to give away $4,000 last Christmas and this year, counting a summer giveaway as well, they’ve given away an estimated $7,000, he said.
“Our goal was not to just help needy people,” he said. “So many people live just above poverty level and they’re left out. That’s who we are helping.”
The recipients have been chosen by the gifters randomly, he said, and they’ve paid for grocery bills from $20 to $200 at local grocery stores.
The reactions to the gifts have varied — ranging from some who have said ‘no’ to the gift to some who have cried — but more often the recipient has been very thankful, he said.
“Sometimes someone has turned around and paid for the person behind them,” Miller added.
They expanded the program this year and sent $100 with two couples to Cracker Barrel to leave as a tip. They plan to keep expanding as possible, he said.
“One thing we’ve tried to learn is that it takes us all to do this,” Miller said. “We have to do it together.”
He added that the participants have thoroughly enjoyed doing it.
The church, which has been established for a little less than two years, averages around 130 people during the Sunday morning worship service, he said.
“We are thankful for a giving, loving church that is filled with humble people,” a post on the church’s Facebook page states. “Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible.”
Locus Church is located at 502 Ashbury Avenue, in the old East End Intermediate School building.
Reach Marisa Anders at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @newsgirl88.