Fort Lauderdale, FL (January 4, 2015) – It was truly the season of giving at First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale where two church mission programs helped more than 1,000 families enjoy the holiday season. First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale’s Thanksgiving Basket Drive Mission Project delivered more than 950 baskets to families in need, and the church’s Angel Tree Project, organized by the church’s Jail and Prison Ministry, provided gifts for more than 250 local children whose parents are currently incarcerated in the Broward County Jail system.
First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale’s Thanksgiving Basket Drive Mission partnered with several community organizations and enlisted the help of more than 200 volunteers to deliver 950 Thanksgiving baskets filled with all the ingredients for a traditional Thanksgiving meal to families in need in November 2015. The majority of the baskets were distributed to local families in Broward County, and 250 of the baskets were packaged and delivered to migrant workers in Immokalee, FL, by Turkeys Take Flight.
“The Thanksgiving Basket Drive Mission has been a church tradition for more than 60 years, and we were excited to be able to raise even more money and give to even more families than we have in the past,” said Kathy Craven, Chair of the Thanksgiving Basket Drive.
This year, the committee, which is chaired by church members Sally Botkin and Kathy Craven, raised more than $27,000 for the Thanksgiving project through donations from the First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale congregation and grants from the Rotary Club of Fort Lauderdale, FPL, the Presbytery of Tropical Florida, Turkeys Take Flight and Publix. Other organizations that participated in the project included the Boy Scouts, who volunteered; the Salvation Army; Family Embrace; and students from the College of Nursing at Nova Southeastern who provided blood pressure screenings at the basket distribution event.
The Angel Tree project at First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale began in early December when the Angel Christmas tree with the angel tag decorations with the names of the children assigned to the church’s prison ministry was placed on the church plaza. Parishioners, who acted as “angels,” claimed tags from the tree, and within a week, they returned each tag with a gift of a toy and an article of clothing, not exceeding $30 in cost.
“The Jail and Prison Ministry at First Pres has ongoing programs to help families who are impacted by the incarceration of a parent,” said Angel Tree Coordinator Jan Nolander. “But, we are especially proud of the Angel Tree program, which allows us to share the gift of God’s love with these families and foster a connection between incarcerated parents and their children each Christmas.”
The Angel Tree project culminated in a festive Christmas party where the children in the program were invited to enjoy lunch, a retelling of the story of Christmas and entertainment, receive their gifts, which were addressed from their incarcerated parent, and take photos with Santa, which will be sent to their incarcerated parent.
To learn more about First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale’s Thanksgiving Basket Drive Mission Project, its Angel Tree project or its prison fellowship programs, visit www.firstpres.cc or call (954) 462-6200.
About First Presbyterian Church of Ft. Lauderdale
Founded in 1912, First Presbyterian Church of Ft. Lauderdale is located on the banks of the New River in the historic Colee Hammock neighborhood in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. With more than 1,800 members, and a strong core of volunteers, First Presbyterian Church of Ft. Lauderdale prides itself in offering something for everyone, regardless of age. Since 1947, First Presbyterian Church of Ft. Lauderdale has operated Happyland Day School, a pre-school for ages two to Kindergarten that provides a quality Christian environment for the children of the community. Adult, youth and children choirs as well as youth groups offer ample opportunity for fellowship at any age. An Adult Activity Center is open to senior citizens and features weekly lunches, entertainment and monthly bus trips. First Presbyterian Church of Ft. Lauderdale offers two regular Sunday services as well as special worship services held throughout the year to commemorate significant days. For more information, please visit the website at www.firstpres.cc.