Back Brentwood Baptist ministries help with Christmas Toy Store at Set Free Church Nashville

December 20th, 2011

Many in the community surrounding Set Free Church Nashville will certainly have a Merry Christmas, thanks to the donations of those who helped make a Christmas Toy Store possible on Saturday, December 17.

Twenty-five large boxes of toys were collected and taken to Set Free Church Nashville in downtown where the event took place. When the store finally closed, 100 families had made their way through the line, which means 347 children will now receive Christmas gifts, including 42 bicycles donated by the Royal Ambassadors program at Forest Hills Baptist Church.

Keely Boggs, Kairos Missions Coordinator, said, "Most of the parents don't have the means to purchase Christmas gifts for their children. While the parents shopped, the kids played outside. Tables were marked with different ages where they could pick out gifts. Each child got one large gift, one small gift, a clothing item (while they lasted), and stocking stuffers."

Several from Brentwood Young Children's School (BYCS), Kairos, Preschool LIFE Groups, Project 615, and more served as personal shoppers and more to the long line that continued to grow outside the Set Free building throughout the day.

Mandy Hart, a Kairos volunteer who served, met many moms and dads during the event, but one particularly left an imprint. Courtney, a young, quiet mother of three, entered the toy store where Mandy was waiting to serve as her personal shopper. She scanned the room quickly, leaned in to Mandy, and said, "I was really hoping to get one of those bikes for my daughter."

"I said, 'Of course! Let's go grab one,'" Mandy said. "My response seemed to shock her, so I took her hand and we stepped toward the bikes. I grabbed a 'girl' one—complete with tassels. As I turned around, she raised her hand to cover her mouth in disbelief and began crying. … I gave her a hug and we both stood there a moment with tears in our eyes."

Overwhelmed, the young mother said, "Tomorrow is my daughter's birthday and now I can give her a gift. You have no idea what this means to me. Y'all are such a blessing."

As Courtney chose Christmas presents for her other children, she offered a quiet "thank you" at every gift placed in her bag. When she left, Mandy gave hugged her again and wished her a Merry Christmas.

"As I watched her turn to leave, I knew that Christmas for her family this year would be filled with joy because of the giving hearts who so generously donated to this event," she said. "I wish everyone who gave could've met Courtney. To see her gratitude through tear-soaked eyes, feel the thankfulness in her hugs, and know that, not only would she be able to provide a birthday gift for her 4-year-old daughter who would've otherwise had nothing, but also Christmas gifts, overflowed my heart with joy. What a blessing we received in the gift of giving."

Story by Kaylan Christopher, Staff Writer & Editor