SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– It’s the “Season of Giving” at James River Church, which means some Springfield boys and girls are receiving an early Christmas surprise.
“Honestly, this is one of my favorite things we get to do all year, it’s so much fun,” said Clent Wells, director of family ministries at James River Church.
Since 1999, James River Church has partnered with Springfield area school districts to help provide gifts to young students.
Wells says more than 1,000 students will receive a gift this year.
“We want them to know that they’re loved by someone,” said Wells. “It’s such a privilege to see their faces come alive and to give them hope and encouragement.”
This marks the 20th year James River Church has held “Season of Giving” at area schools, but Wells says the initiative is more than just gift-giving.
“If we can present the gift in a way that they walk away talking like, ‘mom you’ll never believe this,’” said Wells. “Honestly we believe that’s going to last even longer than the gifts that they’re given.”
Schools are selected based on the number of children enrolled in the free or reduced school lunch program. Westport Elementary School Principal Jill Dennison says events like this one help reinforce her school’s culture.
“Our school goal is to build a school family, to make sure the kids know they have a safe place to come and that they’re welcomed here,” said Dennison.
Donations for the gifts are provided by families and individuals who attend James River Church.