Epworth United Methodist Church has reached out for more than 23 years to provide a more joyful Christmas to families in the Cape Henlopen School District. Beginning in fall 2012, Christmas Joy! 365 was created to assist families throughout the year by providing funds for personal items like eyeglasses, newborn needs and school supplies; youth programs like scholarships and transportation; housing assistance with rental deposits, rehab projects and utilities as well as continuing the tradition of the Christmas Holiday Family Mission which will provide 65 families with clothing and toys for the children and a Christmas dinner food basket.
The major fundraiser for this year-round program is the Annual Silent Auction, which will be held from 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 19, and continue from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 20. Lunch will be offered. The silent-auction bids will be tallied and announced at 1:30 p.m. Santa Claus will be on hand both days for photos with people and/or pets.
The church community, local merchants and service providers generously donate items to the Silent Auction such as restaurant and spa gift certificates, golf and travel packages, theater tickets, home décor, art, Christmas decorations, fashion and jewelry, toys, household items, garden and garage implements and a variety of gift baskets. Also, services such as hair & nails, lawn care, house cleaning, computer work, auto detailing, pet services, art and music lessons will be offered. A 12-room martin birdhouse and pole, a Bose stereo system, two Redskins vs. Cowboys football tickets and custom jewelry and artwork are just a few of the special items up for bid.
The 2013 edition of the Epworth Christmas ornament will be introduced on Sunday with artist Geri Dibiase signing the ornaments from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The ornament combines her photography with the early 1800s Chinese art of eglomise. Each ornament is hand painted by a skilled artist using small brushes, recreating images on the inside of the glass. The entire process takes several days and results in a collectible work of art.
The proceeds of the silent auction are used to meet each family’s request for assistance as given to the Cape Henlopen School District’s Visiting Teacher and Homeless Liaisons as well as West Rehoboth Youth Program and Delaware Guidance. These wishes appear as gift tags on the Giving Tree for adoption by the congregation and community. In early December, the tags remaining on the Giving Tree are turned over to the shopping elves, who finish purchasing the gifts, grocery items and food gift cards for the family’s Christmas food basket. Then comes the sorting and wrapping of nearly 2,000 items with delivery to the families before Christmas arrives.
The public is invited to participate in the Christmas Joy! 365 Silent Auction fundraiser in Epworth’s Fellowship Hall, 19285 Holland Glade Road, Rehoboth Beach. Go to www.eumcrg.org for more information, or call the church office at 302-227-7743, ext. 116.