Archive for Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The glow of giving

Restaurant helps proivde aid through Community Christmas Tree

December 14, 2005

Once again, Bichelmeyer's Steakhouse glows with the lights of the Community Christmas Tree.

Small tags, indicating what items would be suitable gifts for area families, hang on the tree.

The tags include specific items as simple as mittens, toys and socks. They may include coupons that can be used to pay for prescriptions or groceries.

And anyone who wants to help with giving to the Christmas project is welcome to join in.

"It's been wonderful the last four years," said Vicki Bichelmeyer. "It's been getting bigger and bigger every year."

Last year, Bichelmeyer said, community residents brought enough items to the restaurant to fill up three pickup trucks.

The giving has been generous, and the need, great, Bichelmeyer said.

"We like it because it's local, it helps people," Bichelmeyer said.

Here's how it works. People buy items that are listed on the tree's tags. Then they bring the gifts, wrapped and labeled, or unwrapped, to Bichelmeyer's.

If the items aren't wrapped, the owners and employees of Bichelmeyer's will wrap them.

Mark Scribner, associate pastor of West Haven Baptist Church, said the names of families, who live in Tonganoxie and area towns, are suggested by pastors of local churches.

Shortly before Christmas, members of West Haven Baptist Church will pick up the gifts. And Scribner said he and his wife would deliver the packages on Christmas Eve.

People are eager to help, Scribner said.

"We have a lot of people that stop by the church around Christmas time and ask if there are families that different churches know of that they can help," Scribner said.

And Bichelmeyer said even after the tags have all been taken off the restaurant's tree and replaced with gifts, the giving continues.

"As we get closer to Christmas we'll get more," Bichelmeyer said. "We've taken canned goods, everything."

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