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Second annual Community Christmas planned for Elizabeth church

| Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
CAROL WATERLOO FRAZIER | DAILY NEWS
Working on the second annual A Community Christmas at Mount Vernon Community Presbyterian Church, 2200 Greenock-Buena Vista Road in Elizabeth Township, are middle school Sunday School students, from left, Alyssa Craig, Nancy Beinlich, Josh Balogh, Maddie Younge and Haley Rhodes. They, along with Olivia McIntyre and Julia Balogh, were instrumental in creating the community event, which is Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to noon.

When challenged with coming up with an outreach project, the middle school Sunday School class at Mount Vernon Community Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth Township turned their thoughts toward Christmas.

Last year, A Community Christmas made its debut at the church at 2200 Greenock-Buena Vista Road.

Wanting to make it a yearly event, the students are hosting this year's festivities on Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to noon.

“We were thinking of doing something special for Christmas and this is what we decided to do,” Josh Balogh said.

Geared to youth in preschool through fourth grade, A Community Christmas offers games, carols, crafts, a story time, cookies and hot chocolate or milk, and the biblical story of Christmas.

There will be a bake sale with proceeds benefitting a student with a life-threatening illness and a Boy Scout Toys for Tots drive. Nonperishable food will be collected in a large stocking to give to the local food pantry.

“We wanted to do something special for the community,” Nancy Beinlich said, noting last year's event was a fun time and the youngsters learned the real meaning of Christmas.

When laying the groundwork for the event, Alyssa Craig said they wanted the focus to be on the meaning of Christmas. “We didn't want Santa to be there. We wanted the kids to know Christmas is about Jesus and not Santa.”

Maddie Younge said that goal was attained last year, at least for one young participant.

“It was really nice that the young kids learned about Jesus. One little boy was looking at the nativity and he said he knew what that was. That was exciting to hear him say that.”

Looking forward to this year's event, Josh said, “Last year was our first one and we learned what we can do to make it better. We hope to have a bigger turnout this year.”

For Alyssa, seeing the children “understand a little better what Christmas is about made me feel like we were doing something really good for the community.”

There is no charge for the event. To register, call the church office at 412-751-8479.

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