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Pandemic brings changes to Mission of Hope annual Christmas drive

The group will still bring Christmas to needy families in rural Appalachia, but the pandemic means things will be different this year

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — The Mission of Hope (MOH) will continue its mission to provide Christmas for needy families in rural Appalachia, but the COVID-19 pandemic means many changes for the annual effort.

The MOH will cancel it's usual Blue Barrel campaign to collect food, clothing and toys this year. Instead, they will focus on the Cyber Barrel campaign to collect donations to purchase what they need.

Usually, volunteers with the MOH hold events at rural schools where they deliver the donations. The children usually get to take their pick from tables laden with toys. Instead, they are contacting each school to come up with alternate arrangements. 

"Please, hear my heart and know there is no one more interested in fellowshipping with the students than me. But I also know it is imperative that we be respectful of guidelines and safety procedures during this coronavirus crisis we are in. We sincerely hope that you will respectfully understand and support the decisions we are making," wrote Executive Director Emmette Thompson in an email.

This year, each child will receive a hygiene kit that includes a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and shampoo. They will also get a toy bag some with special order toys, that will also include a candy cane filled with candy and an evangelism booklet.

Families will receive a food box and donated clothing will be sent to the schools for distribution.

If you'd like to help, visit the Mission of Hope website.