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Church’s toy giveaway to return

Church’s toy giveaway to return
Church’s toy giveaway to return
Steve Phieler and Jerry Gardner sort items in preparation for Epiphany Lutheran Church's Christmas giveaway event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The church is north of New Salisbury.
Stephanie Taylor Ferriell, Senior Staff Writer, [email protected]

Community residents are invited to stop by Epiphany Lutheran Church on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to do some Christmas shopping.

The best part? They won’t be charged a penny.

The church invites the public to choose whatever they’d like from a variety of items for children. There are bags, stuffed animals, pillow cases, back packs, Frisbees, journals, umbrellas, socks and T-shirts. There are even cereal bowls, cups with lids and kids’ mess kits.

“It’s all brand new,” said Jenny Gardner, one of the organizers, noting most of the items are Girl Scout merchandise.

The items are appropriate for children who are preschool age through upper elementary.

“Everyone can choose the things they like,” said Gardner. “If they want five, we’ll give them five.”

This is the second year for the Christmas giveaway.

“Last year was so much fun,” said Gardner. “We had Christmas music playing, and we had a steady line from 10 to 4.”

Church members estimate there were at least 300 people who came through the initial event in December 2020.

“It was six straight hours of people rolling through,” said church member Steve Phieler. “Hopefully, we’ll have twice as many this year.”

It was a chance encounter that set Epiphany Lutheran on the path to the event. Phieler was at a party and began talking to a representative of Child Spirit, a Louisville-based organization that provides various types of assistance to children throughout the year.

The woman asked Phieler if his church would be interested in hosting an outreach event.

Child Spirit receives overstock items from various companies and offered to help Epiphany Lutheran get started.

“Last year was such a success they contacted us again early in the year,” said Phieler.

The church has been receiving items since October.

“We’ve gotten three 18-foot trailer loads,” said Phieler. “We need to get it to the kids.”

Both Gardner and Phieler said community members who took part last year were very appreciative.

Gardner said the giveaway coincides with the church’s mission, which reads in part: “inspire people to love each other through our actions / motivate people to love and care for their community.”

She added, “We just try to reach out; this is what we’re supposed to do.”

If there are any leftover items remaining after Saturday, the church plans to work with local schools and law enforcement agencies to distribute the toys and other things.

“It’s just a huge success because it touched too many lives,” said Phieler. “You could just see it on the faces of the people coming through.”

Epiphany Lutheran is located along S.R. 135 North, just north of New Salisbury. The church is requiring all who participate to wear facial masks.