Group helps families in need

December 19, 2004|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

Editor's note: This series over the 12 days before Christmas recognizes those individuals and groups that make the holidays better for others.

WILLIAMSPORT - Nancy Crampton didn't mind shopping for 17 children she doesn't know this Christmas.

She relied on a list of their sizes - shoes, socks, slacks, coats - and their favorite things.

Many others at her church, Faith Christian Fellowship of Halfway, on Lappans Road near Williamsport, also took part in the anonymous Christmas Outreach shopping spree.

Church members bought Christmas gifts for students identified by their schools as needy.

"I hate the idea that some kid will wake up on Christmas without anything," Crampton said.

She borrowed the idea from a Boonsboro church to which she and her husband, Cliff Crampton, previously belonged.

Nancy Crampton didn't know what to expect when Faith Christian Fellowship of Halfway took on the project this year.

"It was overwhelming," she said. "We have 27 families and 89 kids."


Names came from officials at Sharpsburg, Winter Street, Eastern and Bester elementary schools. Many of the children are living in meager conditions, Crampton said.

She said she liked the idea of helping children "because they are the ones who still believe in Santa."

A subcommittee of the church's Missions Outreach Committee worked to see that there was enough for all of the children, whose ages range from a few weeks to 16 years old.

Crampton said the goal was to give each child a coat, a pair of boots, an outfit and some toys.

People "adopted" families based on information posted on bulletin boards at the church. The Cramptons said they picked families totaling 17 children. Every family was adopted within the church.

Church members also donated more than $1,200 for the cause, aside from the items they bought, subcommittee member Gene Springer said.

Wal-Mart contributed a $150 gift card, Crampton said.

She said each family also will receive food to help prepare a Christmas meal.

Gene Springer's wife, Tammy, who also is on the subcommittee, said a family in the church is supplying 10 pounds of potatoes for each needy family.

The names of the needy families won't be revealed and the benefactors might not meet them, but the helpers don't mind.

"After all, we're Santa Claus," subcommittee member Barbara Smith said.

"We realize this is God-given and we don't need to put a face on that," Crampton said.

Monday: Michael Bock and Barbara Bock of Greencastle, Pa.

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