Karing for Kids Spreads True Meaning of Christmas

By Rachel Martin

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December 16, 2012 Updated Nov 2, 2013 at 11:41 PM EDT

MARKLE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – A Markle church group spreads the meaning of Christmas by delivering presents to families across Huntington and Wells Counties.

It's the season for giving, and the people involved with Karing for Kids don't take that lightly.

“They think they’re going to bless a family at the home that needs it, but they’re also going to walk away feeling blessed by going there and seeing how the families react to the presents,” said Rhonda O’Reilly, Coordinator of Karing for Kids at Markle Church of Christ.

O’Reilly says Karing for Kids started as a small project 10 years ago in honor of her late daughter, Jennifer. At the time, they only helped eight families. Now, it’s turned a community project with the church’s hallways lined with sacks stuffed with over 6,000 gifts waiting to be delivered to 755 children from 276 families.

Each child received eight gifts, two of which are toys, and the rest basic necessities. Each family also got a Bible, a story book about the meaning of Christmas, food items to create Christmas dinner, and cookies with icing for the families to decorate together.

"It amazes me every time that we do this that God has provided the people and the resources and got us all through hours and hours this week to get to this point,” she said.

By creating 31 routes, each spearheaded by Santa Claus, volunteers loaded up their trucks and parted ways to spread joy to families like Katelynn's.

Without Karing for Kids, Katelynn says Christmas would've been "a little weird."

"Because we're not so...I don't know how to say it,” said 11-year-old Katelynn with tears streaming down her eyes.

Shannon Shoffner of Roanke and her seven kids, share the same sentiment.

"It's great to know my kids are going to have Christmas, and a really good one this year. It means a lot,” she said. “We do what we can, but with the new baby and everything it would’ve been hard.”

But despite all the presents now under their trees, the Shoffners and Katelynn haven't forgotten the true spirit of Christmas, and they’re grateful to those who helped.

“People are so nice. I hope they have a good Christmas,” said Katelynn.

"[I’d tell them] Thank you and God Bless,” said 12-year-old Mark Shoffner.




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