Raleigh, N.C. — Providence Baptist Church, 6339 Glenwood Ave. in Raleigh, usually gives toys to needy families at Christmas, but this year, members are taking a different approach.
"Our desire is to not to just meet a physical need one time, but actually cultivate a relationship with families,” said Dave Owen, with Providence Baptist Church.
Instead of the annual toy giveaway, church families have been matched with needy families throughout the community. Church members will be helping their in-need family with household projects, holiday meals and gift buying.
David and Lynn Barnes' family is one of about 25 church families taking part in the "Hope for the Holidays" outreach program.
"We realized that just giving them food and just giving them toys wasn't helping them long term; it was helping them temporarily,” Lynn Barnes said.
The program aims to make a personal connection with the families, not just during the holidays but throughout the year.
Nicole Benton said she plans to call the church to see about taking part in the program. The mother of three said in the past, she turned only to her neighbors for help during the holidays.
"They (her children) don't really get too much, not from me anyways, because I don't have that much. I have bills and everything else to pay,” Benton said.
Benton said hope from others during the holiday season is exactly what she needs.
"I will just take it one day at a time," she added.
Last year, the congregation helped about 100 families through the Hope for the Holidays program.