It’s said that during the holiday season, children have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads and dreams of receiving presents on Christmas day.
While that may still hold true, the children at Hillside Ministries’ Mission Casa were more focused on picking out gifts for their loved ones.
The outreach held its weekly Casa Youth Activities day Dec. 20. Children were treated to snacks, Santa hat-making and Bible stories. They also shopped at a make-shift store filled with gifts items, from porcelain bears to candles and keepsake boxes.
Although the children said they enjoyed the festivities, choosing gifts for their loved ones was the highlight of the event for some.
“There was an angel that I picked for my mom and a little bunny with some flowers on it that I picked for my sister,” said Donald “DJ” Ziegenfuss, 8, who frequents Mission Casa.
“It felt good because, it’s going to be a surprise for them.”
Shane White, director for Mission Casa, said the outreach provides an outlet for children in the low-income housing areas of Casa Drive, Sunset Lane and Horseshoe Circle and surrounding locations.
“We want to give the kids some fun where they are able to be in a safe environment and learn about Jesus,” he said. “That is our ultimate mission at Mission Casa.”
White runs the outreach program with the help of his wife, Dionna, and approximately 10 other volunteers. They began the CYA program this past summer attracting between 30-40 children. CYA is held every Friday during after school hours.
“We do little arts and crafts and games, and at 5 p.m. we have Bible story time,” Shane White said. “I believe (CYA) is going to steadily grow.”
Mary Wolverton, a volunteer at Mission Casa, said she felt it was a blessing to be able to help the children.
“I feel blessed that we had as many kids as we had today,” she said. “And (they) were able to give gifts to their parents.”