Greater St. Matthews Church held its 15th annual Christmas in November on Nov. 20, treating several families to dinner and dessert, and giving several gifts each to the dozens of children who attended.
“[Christmas in November] is a reminder I believe we’re to share what God has given us with others,” Rev. R. J. White said. “God blesses us to be a blessing to members of our community and families who have less than we do. So rather than wait until Christmas, we’ll give them bikes and toys, games and clothes, giving them a [start] to the season so expectation can be risen. Joy can be felt early, love can be felt early: if you see the smile and the energy in the kids’ faces tonight before the night’s over, it’ll warm you over.”
White praised the volunteers and support for the event, including Wadesboro Mayor Bill Thacker and his wife, as well as Sheriff Tommy Allen. The Thackers and Allen volunteered with the church before taking their current offices, according to White. White also mentioned the register of deeds, County Manager Lawrence Gatewood, Cosmos, Awesome Touch Hair Salon, Triune Counseling Service, Commissioner Ross Streater, and community support and donations from both businesses and individuals.
White estimated that all of the 35-plus kids at the event would receive gifts, which included toys, clothing and even bicycles. Dinnertime conversation immediately dropped to a quiet murmur as volunteers gathered in front of the brightly-decorated Christmas tree, where they called out the names of children to distribute the gifts as the children came forward.
White and other volunteers learn about the children through Social Services, a social worker at the school system, Feed My Lambs, Twenty-First century after school program, and via outreach ministries who refer people to them, according to White and another volunteer.