At Christmastime, our attention is focused on our families as we decorate our homes and shop for gifts for our loved ones. But we can also turn our attention to our larger family in our community who may be facing hard times when we take part in the joyous tradition of sharing Christ’s love with our brothers and sisters in Christ through Jubilee Christmas.
An ongoing tradition since 2011, this year’s Jubilee Christmas is set for Dec. 11 and 12. Teresa Joyce, Director of Development for Washington Catholic Schools, has already posted volunteer sign-up sheets, as well as prepared the tree and ornaments with the gift requests.
“The Outreach Committee in our community has collected children’s names for gifts and divided them up among the churches taking part,” Teresa says. “When Jubilee Christmas began, the committee went to area churches to see if they were interested in participating. Everyone absolutely loved it. Even during COVID we still had it, although it was scaled back.”
The children’s ages range from newborn up to 11 years old for purchased gifts in three price categories. Teens from ages 12-15 received gift cards. They are treated to pizza and then are taken by bus to shop with their cards.
“We probably serve between 400 to 500 children each year between the different churches that participate,” she says. “Our parish obtains gifts for between 60 to 70 children. Our parishioners purchase our assigned gifts, bring them here, and they are then all taken to the distribution center. We hope to provide 3 gifts per child.”
On the Jubilee Christmas days, the families are notified and they may “shop” for the gifts in the three different price ranges. Parents will receive one present out of each price category.
Once the parents choose their children’s gifts, they may wrap them at the distribution center with assistance from volunteers who serve as hosts and hostesses.
“We do need hosts and hostesses and room monitors,” Teresa says. “We need volunteers to help in the gift wrap area. Each day requires volunteers.”
Whether it’s offering prayers for Jubilee Christmas, baking cookies for the event days, or volunteering to welcome families and offer help, there are several ways our parishioners can take part.
“We’re blessed to be a part of this community outreach group,” Teresa says.
For more information about Jubilee Christmas, contact Teresa Joyce at email@example.com or 812-254-2883.