Church works ‘like an assembly line’ to help needy in Lincoln and abroad

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – In the Christmas season, a variety of organizations step up to help those in need.

With that in mind, the Rev. Gary Fuller of Gentle Shepherd Baptist Church visited with the People’s City Mission to find out what it needed most.

Fuller says he quickly realized he needed to supply nontraditional donations that can sometimes be forgotten.

“A lot of people and organizations like to give coats and hats and gloves; we’ve done that in the past,” he said. “But this time we thought, ‘Let’s do these bags, and let’s include in these bags some of the items that they personally would need.'”

The church also set up a store for the homeless to get school items and hair care and makeup products, including products specific to different ethnicities.

While this is Gentle Shepherd’s first year serving the Lincoln community, the church has made a global impact on those in need.

At the Bethany Children’s home in Karnataka, India, the church donated boxes of goods for 15 years by delivering shoeboxes filled with much-needed items.

Setting up global donations is no easy feat and takes lots of volunteers and precision.

“We’re like an assembly line,” Fuller said. “People bring items in, and we put them in the bags, drop them off and everybody’s blessed.”

This year, rising shipping costs demanded a change that would allow them to keep providing many items to India.

“Sending the shoeboxes is expensive,” Fuller said, with each containing $25 to $40 worth of items. Plus, each box costs $10 to ship.

That meant the church spent $1,400 just on shipping last year.

“We thought, ‘How can we use that money more wisely?'”

The church devised a plan that gave it more bang for its Christmas buck.

“We sent the money to our missionaries in India who run an orphanage and have a children’s home,” Fuller said. “We said, ‘You buy these types of items, put them in shoeboxes.’ And so, there was no sending fee.”

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