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Peace Ministries prepares gifts bags for youths

GATHERING ITEMS FRIDAY for gift bags to be given to area youths included Sara Cude, Alicia Hardy, Brenda Bodine, Helen Sullivan, and Kay Dawson.

Ladies from Peace Ministries were busy last Friday making up some 150 giant gift bags for area children who attend their ?Kids in the Park? program and who also attend the House of Prayer Church.

Peace Ministries organizer Helen Sullivan says they saw a need after the program former Mayor Utsey started in the downtown area came to an end.

?We first started meeting at Shirley?s Beauty Box but it became too crowded, then we moved to the park and picked up some more kids,? said Sullivan, who noted they fed 77 kids one night last summer. ?It?s a faith based community program. We feed them, love them, play games, and pray with them.?

The kids call Sullivan ?Ahji? which means grandmother in the Marathi language spoken in Bombay. They call Bob Sullivan ?Papa.? Ahji and Papa decided the kids needed grandparents so they became grandparents to a bunch of area kids.

The group meets on Wednesday evenings at 6 p.m. and has been for close to three years now. Sullivan says that the group is for children from toddlers to age 12 and that teenagers in the group are considered helpers.

Some of the things collected and donated by individuals over the course of the year for the gift bags included snuggle blankets for each child, Christmas decorations, craft items, gloves, deodorants, perfumes, personal items, gift boxes, hot chocolate, snacks, and a variety of toys.

?We are a grass roots effort and we don?t have any large sponsors. We do as we can throughout the year, but God has helped us,? noted Sullivan.

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