Church delivers meals and gifts to children of incarcerated parents

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ST. JOSEPH, Mich. -- The holiday season can be tough for families who can’t be with loved ones and the pandemic has made that even more difficult.

But a church in St. Joseph has a mission to bring comfort to children whose parents are incarcerated and won’t be home this year.

“Just thinking about the emptiness of those children not having that parent on Christmas Day,” said Patricia Allen, Outreach Director at Blue Roof Church.

Every year, Blue Roof Church holds a Christmas event where children are invited to come in and pick out a gift.

But those plans had to change because of the pandemic, so instead, a handful of volunteers packed up the gifts to deliver to 110 kids – all of whom will spend the holidays without one parent.

“COVID-19 has been very difficult for people and this is even more challenging for others in difficult situations like that, so we really wanted to make an impact in people’s lives who needed help,” said Lead Pastor Nathan Bloomfield.

The church coordinated with the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department to compile a list of families in need, then went out to shop for gifts all funded by Meijer.

“Each parent gave me an idea of what that child wanted; we have dolls, race cars, baby toys, stuffed animals, we have some of everything,” said Allen.

While the church has always done outreach in the Twin Cities, this year, they spread the cheer throughout Michiana – delivering gifts from Berrien to Elkhart counties.

“There’s a long history of this church being community focused and looks at it as not just St. Joe, but how could we touch lives throughout this area,” said Bloomfield.

Those 110 children represented 42 families across Michiana who benefited from Saturday’s event – each also received a full Christmas dinner thanks to Meijer in Stevensville.

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