Church’s wrap-a-thon is a blessing to others

In an effort to help others this Christmas season, Seymour Christian Church hosted its first community wrap-a-thon.

“Anyone could come to the church during that time to get their gifts wrapped for free,” Rhonda O’Neal said of Saturday’s four-hour event. “The church is providing the wrapping materials.”

O’Neal is a member of the church who came up with the wrap-a-thon event.

“The idea for this just popped up in my mind, and so I brought it to my brother, who is an elder here at the church, and he thought it was a good idea,” O’Neal said. “So we presented it to the staff and the other elders and thought it would be a neat community outreach for the county.”

She said about 20 church members volunteered for the event, which also included cookies and hot cocoa, so some people were working in the kitchen area.

“All the wrapping paper was donated through the congregation, plus bows, names tags, tape and just everything we needed,” O’Neal said.

Matthew Hanks, student pastor at the church, was there making sure everyone had what they needed.

“I’m showing a couple of Christmas movies for the kids for entertainment,” Hanks said. “I also helped by promoting the event and creating the ads online and on our Facebook page, but Rhonda is really the one who has done most of the work.”

By 1:30 p.m., about 20 people had passed through the event with gifts in tow to have them wrapped. Some had one item, while others had a cartload.

A craft table was set up for children who were there with their parents, while “The Santa Clause” played on the big screen in the background.

Masen Reed, 15, was at the wrap-a-thon with his grandparents, Mike and Nancy Eldridge, longtime members of the church.

“This is the first wrapping session that Masen has ever done, and he has been excited from Day 1 to do this,” Nancy said. “We were really excited about his willingness to help out the church today.”

Masen has been attending the church since he moved to Seymour a couple of years ago, and he wanted to participate in the event because he enjoys helping people.

Nancy said their shift began at noon, and they had been wrapping pretty steadily since they arrived.

Volunteers Cami Niccum and Pam Winegarden were working together at one of the tables, too.

Winegarden said a rush of people had just come through about 20 minutes earlier, and there were about 100 presents to wrap, but things had died down just a little.

“We’ve been saving boxes here at the church for several months,” Niccum said. “Those have been helpful with some of the hard-to-wrap or odd-shaped items.”

At one of the other wrapping stations, Pam Huddleston was cutting paper just the right size for each present on her table, folding up the edges and carefully taping them in place.

Since the event is new at the church, a lot of people still didn’t know about it, but Huddleston thought it was a great idea.

“It has been nice, though, and we didn’t know if it would go over well because you don’t know until you try,” Huddleston said. “We’ve had several people come through, and the hope is to hold the event again next year.”

A young woman had brought in some gifts to be wrapped and was helping Huddleston wrap them.

The woman said she couldn’t afford to buy new things, so she did her Christmas shopping at Goodwill and was thankful she was able to bring her items to the church to be wrapped and didn’t have to purchase the paper and tags.

“We got her all taken care of, and everything is wrapped up for her,” Huddleston said. “It’s nice to be able to help someone, and that’s what it’s all about, to be a blessing for someone else.”