Texas Church Gives Away $30,000 in Gift Cards, Over 1,000 Gifts for Families in Need
By Jessica Martinez | CP Reporter
In the spirit of giving, The Heights Baptist Church in Texas hosted its largest holiday outreach, ‘Three Trees,’ event giving away Christmas gifts to hundreds of families in need after collecting thousands of dollars worth of donations.
Over the last month, the congregation began gathering toys and $30,000 in gift cards for 325 families and over 1,000 children, compared to the 125 families and 350 children that the church served during the first year of the annual holiday giveaway.
“We feel it is necessary to serve others as this is a pretty clear mandate in the Scripture,” said Richard Covington, a pastor with The Heights, to the Christian Post. “We cannot think of any other way to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior better than doing the very thing He did and that is to serve others. Serve is one of the four core values around here; worship, grow, serve and share. This is not just a one-off event.”
Three Trees, held last weekend, is named after a children’s book that the church used for a sermon series eight years ago. It is the church’s literal way of illustrating the story that traces the significance of three trees in the life of Jesus – from the manger, to a fishing boat, and ultimately to the cross. Ever since then, the meaning of the trees has played a role in the annual giveaway’s title, as each represents a gift that the church has been able to give to each family.
During this year’s event, with the help of 700 volunteers, every child in attendance was given a new toy and a $20 Payless Shoes gift card in addition to their families having the opportunity to choose between a $40 Wal-Mart or Target gift card.
Covington said that most of the families are from a local elementary school in Richardson where the church has a partnership and from various apartment complexes where the church has ministries.
“Our guest families were pretty overwhelmed with all that they got,” said Covington.
The Heights is a community-focused church that hosts a wide array of outreach events throughout the year including ‘Engage Sunday’ where members spread throughout the city and serve different communities. Furthermore, the congregation believes in serving beyond their local limits. Currently, The Heights has appointed missionaries to Central Asia, Europe and Africa.
“About eight years ago we asked a question,” said Covington, according to Dallasnews.com. “If we cease to exist, would the community miss us? Not the people who come here every week, but the people who never step foot in?’ So we said, ‘No, not unless we serve.'”