As we all know, many people in the world do not have the ability to buy presents for their friends and family this Christmas, much less the proper food and clothing that they need. It is hard to think of new ideas for ways to reach out to people in need, and it can be especially difficult to get your congregation to join in on your efforts when so many of us are struggling ourselves. I thought for today’s post, I would get into the proper Christmas spirit and suggest a few good organizations that your church could get involved with. I know we are a little over a week away from Christmas already- and many of you are already involved with a charity- but I thought this could be helpful and you can always consider these ideas for the upcoming year or for Christmas next year. First off, I’d like to mention the Salvation Army… one of Shelby Systems’ clients that works internationally to feed, shelter and clothe those who need the most. Another great organization is Habitat for Humanity, an ecumenical Christian housing organization building simple, decent, affordable housing in partnership with people in need. One group that has become really important to us this year (in Memphis) is the Orange Mound Outreach Ministries, which is an inner city group that welcomes children five days a week to participate in Bible study, arts and crafts, receive help with homework, and spend time with Christian adults. A meal is given to the children once a day and for some, it is their only meal of the day. If you are not located in Memphis, you can still get involved with a similar organization near you. Another one of Memphis’ treasures, and probably one that is better known to you, is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. St. Jude is known for its research and treatment of children with cancer, and a cool thing that sticks out to me is that they promise to never turn a family away if they are unable to pay. This makes St. Jude a great organization to consider with your donations. My final suggestion is the Ronald McDonald House program. Focused on the health and well-being of children, the Ronald McDonald House provides a “home-away-from-home” for families so that they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little or no cost. There are thousands of organizations that your church can be a part of…you just have to do some research and pick the right one for your ministry. You can encourage your ministry to make online donations, or have a food or clothing drive at your church. No gift, no matter how small, will ever go unappreciated. From everyone at Shelby Systems, we hope you have a very Merry Christmas!