A stuffed animal or a warm blanket can mean so much to a child or an elderly person in difficult circumstances. Sometimes, a Gift of Love is just the thing.
Gifts of Love is a mission project started by Karen Collins of Stewart. For the past two years, Collins has collected blankets and toys from the community and has been able to distribute items to families in need after a house fire, after a tornado, and other disasters happening to residents in Montgomery and Webster Counties. She also works with Winona Manor Nursing Home and Mission Hope Ministries in Montgomery County, as well as Golden Living Nursing Home and a school or church in Webster County. Donations may also be dropped off at Ann’s Flowers and Crafts in Stewart.
Gifts of Love collection days are so much fun! They are held on the second Monday from 5-6 p.m. January through November at the Stewart Fire Department in Stewart. For the nursing home residents, the most needed items are blankets, pens, large print word search books, adult coloring books and colors or colored pencils. For children, toys for all ages are needed for Christmas, but especially gift items for older children ages 12-18. Collins said she usually gets plenty of things for small children, but the older ones sometimes get left out. Items such as basketballs, footballs, CD players, purses, and jewelry are just a few things they might like, according to Collins.
“I started Gifts of Love because I love to help people and this mission project has been a blessing to me,” said Collins. “I work with children everyday, and yes, some are less fortunate. If this can help one or two kids or a family that’s having a hard time, it’s well worth it. The patients at the nursing homes love getting this too! They feel so loved!”
Collins said she has received only positive and loving comments about this mission project.
“I know not everyone can give so I simply just ask them to pray for this mission and for it to grow. God has blessed me to do this. Its one hour a month every month. Not much if you ask me.”
Collins collects items during the months of February through November on the second Monday of each month at the Stewart Fire Department in downtown Stewart. Then during Thanksgiving break, she delivers the toys to needy families and ministries to insure they have gifts in order to get ready for Christmas.
“In this mission, I’ve learned that God will provide,” Collins said. “This year’s donations have not been as great (as last year), but to those who have nothing ‘a little is a lot’ to them.”
Collins said the community has been an incredible blessing to her work with Gifts of Love.
“They have helped so much in this mission,” Collins said. “The most exciting part for me is when I have a child that gives to help others. It’s a great lesson for them at a young age.”
“It is a great project, said long-time friend, Jenny Moore. “She collects blankets and other items for residents in the nursing homes and also toys and other items for children in the area. She chooses a family in need and provides their children with items for Christmas, that they might not have gotten otherwise. I love that she is helping others in need!”
For more information or to make a donation to the Gifts of Love program, contact Collins at (662) 552-1196 or Ann’s Flowers and Crafts at (662) 262-7154.
See this story in the October 8, 2016 edition of The Winona Times.