Gathering together to make sure Harlan County families have a brighter Christmas, Hilltop Ministry teamed up with the Harlan Rotary Club, Edna Brock, of Knoxville, Tennessee, and many more to host their annual “Happy Birthday Jesus” event on Saturday.
Providing food, clothing, toys, coats, shoes, gloves, scarves and so much more, the event saw approximately 500 participants. Held at James A. Cawood Elementary School this year, those attending were also treated to a message of hope and praise by Rev. Mark Hisle, of Corbin/Parkway Ministry.
Hilltop Ministry Director and Chair Glenn and Vonda Marlow expressed their appreciation to the Cumberland Hope Center for sending volunteers and the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy for helping with the cleanup.
“This is why we call the event the ‘Happy Birthday Jesus’ Christmas giveaway,” said Marlow in an interview last year. “Each year we like to remind folks that faith, joy, hope and love are important elements in our celebration of Christmas. As you look around in your community see if there is someone you can help. Maybe it’s a gift, a meal or bringing them to this event. Every gesture will be your way of showing love, joy, hope and faith during this time of year.”
“We couldn’t do this each year without the help we receive from the Harlan County community as well as donations from as far away as North Carolina,” said Marlow. “We especially are grateful to Rev. John Carter, principal of James A. Cawood Elementary School, for allowing us use of his facility. So many volunteers work diligently each year to see this event happen. It’s a collaboration of people coming together to see those less fortunate helped.”
Quoting scripture from Hebrews 13:16, Marlow said, “In the Bible it says do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. During this Christmas season and all year long we hope everyone will dwell on their blessings and share them with those who have far less.”
For more information, you may contact Hilltop Ministry at 606-573-5060 or visit their Facebook page.