The Joy of Giving at Christmas
Friday, January 17, 2014 at 03:39PM
Love Help Teach

By: Alicia Jones

God gave his one and only son, wise men from the east gave the Christ child gifts of value, we give gifts to our children and loved ones. Giving has always been a great joy for me at Christmas time. This was a unique Christmas of giving among the Roma people. With the gifts of many North Carolina Baptists and personal friends and family, in the name of the local Roma Baptist church, we gave food bags to 170 Roma families. Preparing and delivering the bags in one day, December 23 was a huge task, but we managed with God's help!

Each bag was filled with flour, sugar, rice, pasta, oil, margarine, cocoa, frozen chicken meat, and Christmas candy. These are the ingredients for a fine traditional Christmas dinner. Many will make the Hungarian roll cakes, kalács (pronounced kalach), as this village grandmother is making. Some fill it with walnuts, found in abundance in this part of the world. Others may use poppy seeds, candied fruit pieces or make a chocolate filling from cocoa. Soup is often made from chicken broth remaining from boiling the chicken. The pasta is added to the chicken broth for a fine starter to the meal. Whatever foods were made by the families, we pray that the gifts were a blessing.

The first bags were delivered purposely to some of the poorest in the Roma communities. The first home was a very poor Hungarian family living in the Roma neighborhood. With four small children, the family was piled on a bed that took up the entire small one-room house. There was only another few feet for standing by the bed. They had a small candle lit on a side table. They offered us a seat on the bed and wanted us to stay for a visit, but we had too many bags to deliver. Another home we entered was lit by a small lamp created out of a recycled bottle, some wax and a spoon. A widow and her mentally handicapped daughter were snuggled in the bed to stay warm. One year ago I went in this home and there were only three walls and no source of heat. Now, praise the Lord, there is a small wood heater and four walls with a door. Over the course of the evening we visited many families, with various standards of living. Nevertheless, all were grateful that they were recipients a food package.

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