ABHMS staff donates toys to children of Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 12/15/17)—The staff of American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) is bringing joy to the children of American Baptist churches and schools in Puerto Rico this holiday season by donating a variety of toys.

In partnership with Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico region, new, unwrapped toys will be shipped to the island and provided to boys and girls aged 2 to 12 in time for the holiday season.

Toys collected include board games; stuffed animals; baby and character dolls; Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars; arts, crafts and sticker kits; puzzles; sports balls of all varieties; and such classic hands-on games as Milton Bradley’s “Cootie” and “Don’t Spill the Beans.”

The toys were blessed at the staff holiday luncheon today by the Rev. Salvador Orellana, ABHMS national coordinator of Latino Ministries and deputy director of Logistics and Relationships for ABHMS’ “Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico” initiative in response to hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“The staff of ABHMS cares for the people—and particularly, the children—in Puerto Rico. We care because we are mindful that it’s Jesus love that radiates at Christmas,” says project coordinator Laura Miraz, Ph.D., SPHR, ABHMS associate executive director, Human Resource Services.

“This effort is a small drop in an ocean of tremendous need. That’s why we’re asking for help,” continues Miraz, referring to another ABHMS toy initiative, in which the American Baptist community-at-large and the public are invited to drop off toy-filled shoeboxes at American Baptist Churches USA Mission Center, 588 N. Gulph Road, King of Prussia, PA 19406, no later than Dec. 19.

To participate, simply fill an unsealed shoebox with newly purchased, unwrapped toys appropriate for a child in one of the following age categories:

  • 1-3,
  • 4-6,
  • 7-9 and
  • 10-12.

Then, write on the box the suggested age range and whether the toys are intended for a boy or girl.

These efforts are in keeping with the “Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico” initiative, for which ABHMS staff members continue to visit the island to provide supplies, to connect with partners there and to plan recovery efforts.

ABHMS seeks to raise $1 million in One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) funds to restore all Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico entities. The region includes 114 churches with approximately 25,000 congregants; nine missions; Corporación Milagros del Amor; Seminario Evangélico de Puerto Rico; and Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico. As of Dec. 4, $467,999.74 has been raised.

Donations to OGHS may be made via your church; via credit card online at abhms.org > Give Now; or via a check designated to “OGHS-Puerto Rico” and mailed to the attention of Kim Wilkins at American Baptist Home Mission Societies, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA, 19482-0851.

One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs. To ensure that your church receives credit for your gift, write the church name on your check or, if giving online, in the “comment” box.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

 American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.

 One Great Hour of Sharing is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA. The committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering received by churches.