HOLDEN – More than 20 years ago a couple who were involved in the youth group at the No. 7 Holden Freewill Baptist Church decided to teach the youth it is more blessed to give than to receive at Christmas. When they took that first sled out on Christmas Eve, Bobby and Debbie Barnett learned something themselves and started a tradition.
“We wanted to teach the youth that it’s just as much fun to give as to receive at Christmas,” said Bobby, “But when we went to take the stuff out, it tore me up to see how bad things were.”
Every year, the Barnetts work with the youth group at their church to raise money and buy Christmas gifts for the sled that leaves from the church at about 10 a.m. on Christmas Eve.
The sled covers about ten miles on its Christmas Eve mission, Holden number five, six, seven, eight and all of Whitman Creek.
There is no notice given, names submitted or lists made. Whoever is out on the street when the sled comes by gets something.
“Some of the people will get from the sled the only things they will have for Christmas. We give to everyone, adults as well as kids,” said Bobby.
This year, something new has been planned. Marines are giving toys to the local fire departments for distribution. The fire department has contacted the Barnetts about distributing the toys.
Bobby said, “I am anxious to see how many toys there will be. We will be able to buy more hams and other items if we don’t have to buy toys.”
The Christmas Sled is funded entirely through the church and fund raisers by the youth. To donate or for more information, call Bobby or Debbie Barnett at (304)239-3710 during the day, or (304) 239-3541 evenings.