Meaghan Esmeijer delivers fully packed diaper backs to the maternity floor of Chilliwack General Hospital as part of the Southside Church ‘Love them Both’ program. (Submitted photo)

Meaghan Esmeijer delivers fully packed diaper backs to the maternity floor of Chilliwack General Hospital as part of the Southside Church ‘Love them Both’ program. (Submitted photo)

Chilliwack’s Southside Church spreads Christmas cheer with ‘All is Bright’ day

The fifth annual community outreach event happens Nov. 28 with activities throughout Chilliwack

An annual tradition at Chilliwack’s Southside Church continues this year, with a few COVID-related adjustments.

For the last four years, the church has organized a community outreach day called ‘All is Bright,’ and it returns Saturday (Nov. 28) with members bringing Christmas cheer to all corners of Chilliwack.

“We’ve planned a contact-free, largely drive-thru style day, with individuals participating in solo initiatives, or within their household units,” said Southside Church communications director Breanna Murphy.

According to Murphy, “the emphasis is on bringing tangible hope and help to those in our community who often feel lonely and hopeless.”

The 2019 event included eight community initiatives, with 300 volunteering 1,200 service hours to the cause.

Initiatives from last year being carried over to 2020 include the Sunshine Fund, which was created to help individuals and families struggling with cancer and other critical illnesses. The church distributes gift boxes with $500-$1000 worth of prepaid visas, gas cards and Skip the Dishes cards.

READ MORE: Rotary Christmas celebration for kids will replace downtown parade

READ MORE: ‘Sense of desperation: Christmas bureaus anticipating spike in need this year

Southside’s ‘Love them Both’ program is aimed at new moms, with teams dispatched to shop for essentials and pack brand new diaper bags. The bags and other items (strollers/wipes/formula/etc) are delivered to the Chilliwack General Hospital maternity floor, and also to the Pregnancy Care Center (PCC).

This year, Southside is adding two more initiatives.

During the pandemic, the church has seen people tuning in to online services from all over the planet, including Taiwan, France and Nairobi. The ‘Global Team’ project is challenging those people to carry out initiatives in their communities.

The FOUR initiative is open to church members and the public. People are invited to visit the brand new almost-finished Southside building at 45636 South Sumas Road. Murphy said they will be given instructions and resources for ‘four action steps.’

– A $5 gift card as a gift to someone or a prompt to buy coffee for a friend.

– A blank card, to be written in as a note of encouragement, to make the day of the person you give it to.

– Instructions to return to the drive-thru with canned food for the Sts’Ailes Community School.

– Instructions to return to the drive-thru with a string of Christmas lights for the church’s Wonder Drive-Thru, which will be happening in December.

The day will end with an opportunity to drive-thru Southside’s pop-up Christmas light drive-thru on Olds Drive, where the church will be collecting non-perishable food items for students and families of the Chehalis Community School.

“This year, everything looks different in every area of life, but we didn’t want that to stop us from bringing help to the city we love,” Murphy said. “We’re actually calling this ‘our brightest year yet.’ We want to do more than we’ve ever done before because we see more need than ever before.”


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

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