ADA—Members of Ada, Trinity are very active in their community, but especially so during the time leading up to the celebration of the birth of Christ.
“One of the most important and amazing things we do in our community is a ministry to foster families in Pontotoc County,” said Pastor Rusty Fuller, referring to the church’s 10-year history of providing a dinner and gifts at Christmas time to foster children and the families who have reached out to those children.
“Every Christmas, our church hosts a dinner and party for foster children in Pontotoc County,” Fuller explained. “Department of Human Services (DHS) caseworkers provide a list of children and a wish list from each. Ornaments are made for each child and placed on a tree. Members of the church family pick an ornament and shop for the child. The church then invites the foster children, their foster parents, and siblings to a dinner and a visit from Santa where they receive their gifts. Each child receives two gifts.”
Associate pastor David Gray had the honor of playing Santa Claus at the Dec. 8 dinner, which drew a crowd of more than 300.
“It’s heartwarming to do so,” he said. “This year, I had foster children ranging in age from a newborn to probably 16 years in age sit on my lap to receive their gifts,” he said.
In addition to church members participating, members of the East Central University basketball team also helped serve the food to those attending the dinner. Some of the children also dressed up and participated in staging the Nativity story, and Coltin Wester, minister of worship and music, led the group in singing Christmas carols.
The church, which has six foster families among its members, holds a “Foster Care 5K Race” the Saturday before the dinner each year to help raise funds to support the event. Fuller said about 80 runners participated in the race this year, which raised more than $2,500.
Fuller said there are about 180 foster children on the DHS roll in Pontotoc County, and more than 12,000 in the state.