I love getting emails like this. It came from Martha Cisneros, who coordinated getting all the gifts that were collected for this year's Giving Forest into the hands of the families from South Elementary School in time for Christmas. Here is part of the note she sent when everything was finished:
On Friday, we successfully completed the distribution of all Christmas gifts from New Hope. What a blessing it was to see the joy in people's faces as they received their gifts and expressed gratitude for the love and generosity of our congregation. Once again, New Hope has made a difference in the lives of those who could use a helping hand, especially around the holidays. Because of operation Giving Forest, skillfully led by Mike Dennis, 52 South Ridge Elementary families will have gifts for their children this Christmas. In all, 292 gift wishes were fulfilled.
Below is an email from the Assistant Principal at South Ridge Elementary. I am so proud to be a part of New Hope.
My heart is filled with joy.
Mike Dennis has been heading this effort up for many years. He has overseen its growth from a "Giving Tree" (which he helped to build!) to a Giving Forest. This ministry wouldn't have thrived all these years without him, and he would be the first to say that this is definitely a 'team effort'. Hundreds of people helped gather the needs, make the tags, create the "forest", sort and store the gifts, organize them by families (thank you Cindy & Nancy!), set up Fellowship Hall and make sure they get to the families so they can be ready for Christmas.
...it is heartwarming to see the care and love your congregation pours out on our children. We are so supported and truly blessed to be in partnership with you. Thank you, sincerely, for your time, efforts, and gifts that bless our children and their families.
Beyond the school, the Giving Forest also worked with Women's Crisis Center and the Salvation Army.
"My heart is filled with joy".
Those aren't just the words of someone who received these gifts, but someone who gave. Isn't that the way it goes? When we give ourselves to something that matters, we feel like we get more than we give.
"My heart is filled with joy."
Mine, too. How about yours?