Santa’s Helpers

Nate Jones, 28, of Barbourville, heads out to deliver Christmas presents and treats for Knox County children.
Nate Jones, 28, of Barbourville, heads out to deliver Christmas presents and treats for Knox County children.
Tyler Dunn, 22, of Barbourville prepares a bag of presents and treats on behalf of the North Main Community Church to be delivered to Knox County kids on Christmas Eve.
Tyler Dunn, 22, of Barbourville prepares a bag of presents and treats on behalf of the North Main Community Church to be delivered to Knox County kids on Christmas Eve.

Local church fills in as Santa’s Helpers on Christmas Eve

By BOBBIE POYNTER

bpoynter@mountainadvocate.com

Santa Claus had some special help Christmas Eve delivering presents to more than 200 children in Knox and Laurel counties. Children who may have given up on Santa Claus this year received a late-night visit from his elves in the form of church buses full of presents.

Members of the North Main Community Church have been wrapping hundreds of presents for weeks in preparation of the Christmas Eve deliveries. Huge bags and boxes were filled with toys, clothes, candy personal items and fruit and then, beginning at 10 p.m. Christmas Eve and continuing through 1 a.m., delivered personally to each child’s home.

Scott Phipps, the church’s pastor says the church has been playing Santa ever since it opened its doors in 2001.

“We saw a need and, as a church family, felt this was one of the best ways we could help fill that need. This is a massive yearly undertaking,” he said, but we have a lot of help.”

That  help comes in the way of donations from churches located in Texas, Louisiana and Missouri, community donations, six pallets of children’s clothes from The Disney Store and a tractor trailer full of items from Operation Sharing.

No child’s Christmas would be complete without a stocking full of goodies, and thanks to a lot of school children in New Cannon, Connecticut, each bag of presents also included that stocking. Each stocking included a personal holiday greeting from the student who filled it.

“Of all the programs we contribute to throughout the year, this is one of the most important,” said Mike Phipps of Operation Sharing. “Without the cooperation of these wonderful people and the organizations and individuals who donate to the cause, most of these children would not even have a Christmas. Operation Sharing is glad to be a part of it.”