Spreading Holiday Cheer

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Karen Parrish (Left) with Diana Clouder (Right) holding up one of the prepared gift boxes.

Every year for 32 years without fail, the congregation of Cypress United Methodist Church delivers 57 special parcels for our residents. Packed in boot boxes bedecked in bright paper, residents receive full size toiletries and hair care products, lipstick, eye shadow, perfume, nail polish, a sewing kit, a pen and notepad, and a pair of slippers knit by one of the men in the church. Each box also includes a Christmas card and candy canes wishing our residents a happy holiday.

This holiday tradition began when Nancy Willis, a member of Cypress United Methodist Church heard a member of The Women’s Home staff speak of our residents’ need to the congregation, then known as Airline United Methodist Church. What began as a simple call for items has become a yearlong project that brings the members of the church closer. The group gathers donations throughout the year, collecting them at monthly meetings where they send out a call for each need at a time. Any items still missing from the list when it’s time to wrap are purchased in bulk. This tradition of giving continued even during the transitional period when Airline United Methodist Church closed and the group moved to Cypress United Methodist Church. “It’s a come together project for all of us,” Karen Parrish said when she and Diana Clouder came with Bob Willis, Nancy Willis’ husband, and Nonnie Sherrod to drop off the gift boxes.

The project started at a time when it wasn’t certain our residents would receive any gifts for the season. “It’s rewarding giving someone what they might not have otherwise.” Diana said. Nancy is still involved with the gift project she set in motion three decades ago, though her health keeps her from the helm. Diana and Karen, who have gone to church with Nancy for years, naturally found themselves involved with the project with no intention to stop helping anytime soon.  “It’s such a rewarding project, you can’t just not do it” Diana said. “We don’t want to stop, we’re already talking about next year.” Karen added.