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UC Mountain Outreach hosts annual Gift Day


Williamsburg, Ky.— On Saturday, December 8 the University of the Cumberlands (UC) Mountain Outreach (MO) organization hosted its annual Gift Day for community members. MO director Marc Hensley and MO volunteers have made it their goal to reach out to as many families as possible throughout the year and especially during the Giving Season.

“The message of Christ is what we base our projects around and the idea of giving these people the opportunity to know the ‘ultimate gift’ Jesus provided us as our savior is the message we want to send out,” said Hensley.


Preparation for Gift Day took approximately two months, and donations have been collected—locally and from across the nation—throughout the year. This year 176 families registered to attend the event, meaning that more than 420 children would be able to have gifts to open on Christmas morning.

On Saturday morning an air of excitement pervaded the two MO warehouses as moms, dads, grandparents and caregivers crowded in to choose toys and much-needed clothes and housing items. Families chose two toys per child, received a $50 food voucher from the Williamsburg SAV-A-LOT and Bibles for every member of the family. Each family was also offered free clothing and household items from the Community Distribution Center (CDC) after they finished picking out their gifts. According to Hensley, the goal behind offering each of these things to these families is to allow them to have the “complete package” that Christmas season brings to families everywhere.

MO volunteers were made up of UC students, faculty and staff and church groups from several states, including Tennessee and Kentucky.

“This is my 4th year serving here,” said Doris Dold from Corral Hill Baptist Church in Glasgow, Ky. “Our church hosted a diaper drive for this event, and they go fast! I enjoy every minute of coming here. The atmosphere is so friendly and joyful and it is truly a blessing to be involved in something so powerful and moving.”

There was also a bit of entertainment and ministry included this year at Gift Day. The Omega Force Strength Team, based in Scottsville, Ky., awed Gift Day visitors as they bent steel, broke concrete blocks and lifted heavy objects. The act is based off of the hit show “The World’s Strongest Man,” but Founder Randy Richey ended the presentation with the true reason they perform: “to preach the fantastic love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

“We’re the world’s strongest team with the world’s greatest message,” said Richey.

The 16-year-old ministry is comprised of 40 men, 10 of which are World Champion Power Lifters, from 10 states throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.

“Our number one purpose is to lead people to Christ,” said Richey. “And we never say no to anyone, if they want us, we go no matter how big or small the occasion.”

The performance and message ended with one Gift Day visitor making the life decision to follow Christ.

Mountain Outreach is a University of the Cumberlands ministry, with students and volunteers building more than 140 homes and making repairs and renovations to hundreds more for 30 years. Anyone interested in helping MO or learning more can visit or call 606-539-4346.

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; seven graduate degrees, including a doctorate and six master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs. For more information visit

Article Provided by Kyla Edmondson, UC Multimedia & Athletic Services Student Assistant