Gateway City Church collects items, then helps pack bags as part of Christmas in the Bag donation drive

Church giving for Christmas

For Pastor Matt Schultz and his flock, the Christmas giving season starts on Thanksgiving.

That’s when Gateway City Church’s congregants began collecting items to donate to this year’s Christmas in the Bag — things like toothbrushes, deodorant and other nice-to-haves that are hard to come by for many who are less fortunate.

“The week before Thanksgiving, I put it out, I advertised to our congregation saying, ‘Hey, this is a fundraiser that we’re doing to help the Mustard Seed to help those who are homeless,’” Schultz, lead pastor at Gateway City Church, told Castanet Kamloops.

“Thanksgiving is a time when we just gather together with family and friends and gorge ourselves on food — similar to Christmas — but it’s also a great opportunity for us to look outside ourselves and look at those who are in need.”

Schultz said the donated items were taken to the Mustard Seed and, in a few weeks, a team of volunteers from his church will be back to help pack the items into bags to be distributed to the homeless and less fortunate.

Now in its fourth year, Christmas in the Bag is a donation drive spearheaded by a number of Kamloops organizations — including Castanet Kamloops — that sees donated items like toques, socks, toothbrushes and gloves packed in individual bags and handed out to people in need.

Schultz said he’s proud of his congregation.

“When it comes to the very real needs that are happening in our community, for people who struggle to put food on the table or whatever it is, people really rise to the occasion within our church,” he said.

People can drop off new, unused items to any of the four HUB locations in Kamloops: Sahali Mall (198-945 W Columbia Street), 299 Third Ave., 19-750 Fortune Dr. and 2-111 Oriole Rd. Donations can also be dropped off at Castanet Kamloops, at 1-275 Seymour St.

If you want to donate, accepted items include: Tampons, gloves, socks, underwear, water bottles, insulated mugs, dental floss, deodorant, disposable razors, toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, shampoo, lip balm, toques, scarves, travel-size games and Christmas cards with personalized greetings.

Donations can be dropped off at: Castanet Kamloops, 1-275 Seymour St.; The Mustard Seed, 342 Seymour St. West; Manhandlers Barber Shop, 373 Victoria St.; or any Hub International location.

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