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Give a ‘Gift of the Heart’ this Christmas season

“Gifts of the Heart” is a gift-giving program sponsored by Community United Methodist Church that supports three local or regional charities, and is a win-win opportunity for everyone involved.

This program offers a great way for you to shop locally, make those on your gift list happy, and for you to know that your gift will have a positive effect on someone who is experiencing a difficult time.

Do you know someone you would like to honor with a gift at this Christmas season or some other times of the year? Is this a person who does not accumulate “stuff” or who really doesn’t need another plate of cookies, bottle of lotion or the latest gadget? You have a year-round opportunity to take care of everyone on your gift list with a “Gift of the Heart.”

How does this work? First, you decide to break out of your old pattern of buying traditional, tangible gifts and replace some of the gifts you normally give to family, friends, co-workers, service people or teachers with a far-reaching “Gift of the Heart.” For any size financial donation you will receive a lovely certificate and envelope to send an individual telling him or her you have made a donation in his or her honor that will benefit someone through your choice one of three charities. You can choose to support the Community Assistance Fund, the Food Pantry, or Shiprock, N.M., Home for Women and Children.

Certificates are available throughout the year for a variety of specific or general occasions. The recipient will surely appreciate your thoughtful gesture and someone in our community or surrounding area will also benefit from your generosity.

“Gifts of the Heart” certificates may be purchased at the Community United Methodist Church office at 434 Lewis St. Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, contact the church office at 264-5508.

The Community Assistance Fund served over 267 families or individuals in need this year through the end of October and that number has increased considerably during the holiday season and the onset of winter weather. Most of these people are not affiliated with Community United Methodist Church. Your donation through “Gifts of the Heart” will be used to provide help with such emergencies as a rent or mortgage payment, utilities, gasoline, prescriptions, eyeglasses, emergency car repairs, meals, counseling services or moving expenses.

During this same period of 2009 the Food Pantry distributed over 729 food boxes to 258 families or individuals. If you choose to direct your giving to the Food Pantry you will help provide food to over 20 families or individuals each week. Without such contributions, most of these people might go hungry. Items in a basic food box include canned meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, and soup; dried pasta, rice or beans and cereal; sauces or meal mixes to accompany the above; boxes of Jell-O and pudding and baking mix; jars of peanut butter and jam; powdered milk; and basic non-food items such as paper towels, toilet paper and dish soap.

Shiprock Home for Women and Children provides shelter, safety, crisis intervention, education, transportation and advocacy to women and their children who are victims of domestic violence. The SHWC service area reaches across the Four Corners area of New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. Your gift can provide clothing (especially new underwear), shampoo and hygiene needs, blankets, school kits, and support for program costs, food and shelter.

With your certificate purchases, you will have the satisfaction of knowing not only that you have honored people close to you with your gift, but also that you have helped make a difference in someone’s life. Hence the name of the program, “Gifts of the Heart.”