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Members replace stolen presents

Posted: December 19, 2008 8:32 p.m.
Updated: December 20, 2008 4:55 a.m.
In this economy, it seems no one is safe from the attempts of those turning to desperate measures for the goods - not even churches.

But members of the Newhall Church of the Nazarene refused to let thieves triumph after a recent robbery attempt on church grounds.

Pastor Greg Garman of the Newhall church immediately responded when security alarms went off at the church on The Old Road about 4 a.m. Thursday.

Church members were concerned the vanished intruders took bags of Christmas gifts collected for 11 needy families for the church's Angel Tree ministry, said coordinator and church member Leslie Gilbride.

He said on first glance, nothing seemed to be missing but when the "Angel Tree delivery team" went to distribute the bags to families Dec. 13, they discovered two were missing.

"It was so disappointing that morning," she said.

"Two families who had gifts stolen both have pre-school, handicapped children."

For the ministry, Angel Tree coordinators collected the names of 11 underprivileged families and the ages of the children, then supplied specific gifts requested for all members of the family, Gilbride said.

Although the two missing bags were for smaller families, the calculated loss amounted to about $200 worth of gifts, she said.

Those who aided with the ministry prepared to make up for the gifts through church funds, but when church members heard of the loss at a Sunday service, cash donations flowed to provide gifts for the families.

"It's just really heartwarming to know that sometimes there's a need and it can seem kind of overwhelming," Gilbride said.

"But when there's a lot of people together things happen and needs get met."

Garman knew church members would pull through.

"They're always quick to respond," he said.

"We're all about trying to represent Christ to the community."

"And we do that through a variety of ways, with things like programs, but also through ministries of encouragement like the presents at Christmas time. So that's why we make sure we connect with those families in need."


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