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Mountain Outreach “gives” during the holidays, so that local children and their families would be able to enjoy Christmas.


Local children have opportunity to pick out and wrap a gift for each of their parents with help of a Mountain Outreach Volunteer.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. – University of the Cumberlands’ Mountain Outreach (MO) brings a whole new meaning to “giving” during the Christmas season. Each year, the group dedicates time and hard work the last few weeks of the semester so that children from limited-income families will have a smile on their faces on Christmas morning. Many individuals have volunteered their time to Kids Day, the Shopping Spree and Gift Day, this year.

MO volunteers hosted Kids Day on November 6, 2010. Area children were able to attend and pick out Christmas gifts for their parents or guardians. The kids were very excited to have this opportunity to choose a gift for someone special. They also got to pick out the wrapping paper or gift bag for it.


UC Mountain Outreach students and staff/faculty with Wal-Mart staff after a fun filled early morning shopping spree Gift Day Christmas gifts.

On December 3, MO held its “Mid-night Shopping Spree” at Wal-Mart. A total group of 49 faculty, staff and student volunteers shopped for Christmas gifts for MO’s annual Gift Day. They needed to get 843 gifts, plus some extra for specific families and late registrants, so they estimated needing 1,000 gifts for the entire event. Marc Hensley, director of Mountain Outreach, commented, “I had asked the students before we started to make toy selections very personal, and I think they did just that. I believe this was the best Shopping Spree we have ever had.”

On December 11, MO hosted Gift Day, a time for local families who had registered on a prior date, to come to the MO warehouse and shop for Christmas gifts for their children. “We registered 14 additional families after our pre-registered 183 went through, which totaled 197 families for the event; the total number of children served this year was 446,” said Hensley. The parents were able to pick out two gifts per child, out of a selection of gifts that were age-appropriate and previously purchased at Wal-Mart by Mountain Outreach or donated by other groups. Hensley added, “On the volunteer side we had 46 UC students and 4 faculty/ staff. We had 128 volunteers from churches and organizations from 5 different states, including Ky., Tenn., Ga., Ohio, and N.C.”

Every family received 3 bags of food items and 2 cases of bottled water. Every registered child received a children’s Bible, a nativity coloring book and nativity sticker book and stickers all donated by a friend from Nashville, Tenn. Every family received a $50.00 food voucher to Save-A-Lot, and they were allowed to visit MO’s Community Distribution Center (CDC) warehouse after they went through the event. This is a remarkable event, and many hearts were touched.