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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Taking the challenge

Wash. youth share Christmas with adopted family

Big things can happen at Christmas when youth take up the gift-giving challenge.

Each year, youth at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Kelso, Wash., "adopt" a needy family at Christmas. In 2001, school officials gave the JC (Jesus Christ) Kids the name of a Latino family with 12 children. For the 232-member congregation with about a dozen youth ages 10 to 17, the challenge was daunting.

Group leaders started by requesting a $5 donation from each of the kids. With that plus fund-raisers earlier in the year, the JC Kids decided they could meet the challenge.

As word got out in the congregation, adults began responding with $5 and $10 donations. Before long the kitty was up to $600, and the youth hit the mall. Armed with the ages of their family's children, the youth group ended up with seven gifts for each of the kids.

Part of the project included Christmas dinner. The JC Kids decided to ask the family its preferences before they went shopping. Good thing too — they learned the family preferred the fixings for a traditional Latino meal featuring Pozole. So instead of turkey, youth shoppers bought pork, hominy, chile sauce, chopped cabbage and onions for the hot "stew."

With such positive results, the JC Kids are eager to take on another gift-giving challenge this year


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