Dear to My Heart: Giving Back at Christmastime

A Christmas tree donated to Salem Pregnancy Care Center in Winston Salem, North Carolina brings cheer to women in crisis pregnancies.

Christmas Tree Market Christmas in the Community project Salem Pregnancy 2015 f
Back in 2011, I began volunteering at a place my home church sponsored, Salem Pregnancy Care Center, in Winston Salem, NC.  I was a mentor there, and enjoyed spending time with the teenage girl I was assigned to, doing my best to support and encourage her as she participated in the support programs at Salem Pregnancy, continued school, graduated, and gained employment to support her son.  It was an amazing experience that took me way out of my comfort zone, yet I would recommend to anyone who is looking to find a place for personal, one-on-one ministry to others.

However, my involvement at Salem Pregnancy turned out to be a blessing to me in other ways as well.  You see, my husband and I had begun to struggle making ends meet, and had gotten behind on our mortgage payments.  The sweet friends I had made at Salem Pregnancy saw that I was in need, and offered me help by providing occasional necessities like diapers and wipes, baby clothing and educated me about cloth diapering, even providing me a beginner’s kit that I used for years.  In return, I continued to volunteer there even after I had stopped mentoring, helping to stock the shelves, fold clothing, and sort diapers and wipes for the clients, and I even loved cloth diapering so much that I taught the clients how to do it too!

Salem Pregnancy will always have a special place in my heart, as they were there for my family when we needed help.  And they support so many families in crisis, each and every day.  It’s a great organization, one that makes a difference in many lives.

Having been the recipient of so many gifts from God through others during our own time of need, my husband and I want so badly to be able to give back in any way we can.  Even though our budget is still very tight, and we barely scrape by most months, my husband and I have an intense desire to “pay it forward” in any way we can.  This week, we were able to do just that.

I jumped at the chance to help out Salem Pregnancy through ChristmasTreeMarket.com’s Christmas in the Community project.  As soon as I heard about the program, and how Christmas Tree Market provides a Christmas tree to decorate a local charity or community center, I applied.  I knew this was a way I could give back to a charity that I believe does wonderful work.  To my surprise and great joy, I was accepted for the project!

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Christmas Tree Market provided a beautiful, pre-lit Christmas tree for the lobby at Salem Pregnancy.  I found friends that volunteered to make hand-made Christmas ornaments, or provided store-bought ones, and together we completed the effort of decorating a beautiful tree for the clients of Salem Pregnancy to enjoy.  My own children enjoyed creating salt-dough ornaments for the tree.  Other families made paper ornaments, paper snowflakes, or bought colored balls and candy canes.  It was truly a community effort!

Christmas Tree Market Christmas in the Community project Salem Pregnancy 2015 p

Here is the final display!  The huge, life-like tree is a beautiful, inspiring and cheerful addition to the center’s front lobby.  It will greet clients, as they come seeking help.  They are invited to take an ornament from the tree as they visit.  Our prayer is that this tree is a symbol of hope, love, and beauty of life, inspiring the women and families who visit the center each day throughout the Christmas season.

Christmas Tree Market Christmas in the Community project Salem Pregnancy 2015 i

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