GREENE COLUMN: Celebrate the joy of giving this holiday season
A good idea is worth passing on.
And Seacoast Church in Mount Pleasant has one great idea: to give away 100,000 gifts this Christmas season.
All month long, church members have been performing random acts of kindness. Not only to people they know, but strangers especially. Two cars have been donated to needy families.
And you don't have to attend or be a member of Seacoast to participate.
In fact, “I hope that people want to join our efforts whether they attend another church, or no church at all,” senior pastor Greg Surratt says on the church's website.
It's a cool idea that everyone can do on some level — whether as an individual, a family, a church or a business. An idea of giving is always worth emulating.
Gifts of giving
Surratt and his staff came up with the idea a few months ago after sitting down to think about what to do for Christmas.
A lot of great ideas came out of that meeting but one in particular grabbed their attention.
“What if this year we made Christmas a time of giving to our communities? We could show the love of God to the people in our neighborhoods, to strangers in line at the grocery store. We could help the needy, spend time with the lonely, encourage the discouraged,” according to Surratt.
The idea and the excitement around it caught on big-time.
Members were asked to participate, and the “100,000 Gifts” series was born.
Join the effort
Everyone is asked to share what they gave or received by going to the website www.100kgifts.com and record their acts of kindness.
As of Sunday at 5 p.m., 21,434 random acts of kindness have been given.
In one entry, someone paid off a stranger's layaway at K-mart.
“I walked into K-mart this morning and paid toward a stranger's layaway. Left them a note on the receipt that said “Merry Christmas. God Loves you.” I think the cashier was as moved as the recipient will be.”
From a recipient: “I was sitting in a restaurant with my friend having dinner. It's been a really rough year. Thank you to the stranger that paid for our meal.”
Josh Surratt, the church's communications director and son of the pastor, said one couple bought and decorated 20 Christmas trees and delivered them to several families who couldn't afford them.
Two families gave away cars to families they knew who needed them.
Several churches are now participating.
Imagine what 100,000 acts of kindness can do
“I think it could have an impact on families and neighborhoods, maybe even entire towns.
“I know for a fact that it will change your own heart and that is always a good thing,” pastor Surratt says on the website.
Surratt said Seacoast also is giving its Dec. 16 donations of $500,000 to several charities — 15 locally, including Habitat for Humanity, Crisis Ministries, My Sister's House, Onesimus Prison Ministries, Lowcountry Crisis Pregnancy Center and Charleston Hope.
The gift-giving campaign ends Dec. 31 so there is still time to give.
Can't think of an act of kindness? Go to the website www.100kgifts.com where there are 101 ideas — including buying someone a cup of coffee, pumping someone's gas or simply putting your neighbor's paper on the porch.
Anyone who has ever given anything out of the goodness of their heart knows what a great feeling that is.
So just do it.
Reach Assistant Features Editor Shirley A. Greene at 937-5555, or firstname.lastname@example.org