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Teaching, learning, giving back

Charity: First Presbyterian Church of Newhall’s Bible School collects more than 450 food items

Posted: July 9, 2010 10:25 p.m.
Updated: July 10, 2010 4:55 a.m.

A group of kids belts out a rollicking song of faith while surrounding their music instructor, Marie Gilbert, center. For five days in late June, Gilbert taught the youngsters songs and hand movements at the First Presbyterian Church of Newhall’s Vacation Bible School.

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How many cans, cartons and plastic containers does it take to fill a 45-gallon garbage barrel? 

Filling almost five barrels in five days, 100 children attending First Presbyterian Church of Newhall’s Vacation Bible School collected more than 450 food items.

“On Friday, some kids filled a couple of truck beds with food,” said Sarah Bolin, head of children’s ministry for the church. “We had to wheel out two barrels for all the food. It was awesome.” 

All food items were donated to Help the Children — Santa Clarita, which collects and distributes food, personal hygiene and school items to families and children living in the SCV. 

“With the economy the way it is, we wanted to collect as much food as we could for people needing it,” Bolin said.

Although the weeklong Bible-school program took place on the grounds of the First Presbyterian Church of Newhall, located at 24317 Newhall Ave., the children experienced a high-seas adventure.

The sea voyage took place in the church’s sanctuary, but as Bolin said, the adventures came to life for the kids.

For five days beginning June 21, the SS Faithfinder plowed the stormy seas, teaching children about God.

“For some kids, this is the first time they have heard about God, and for some, it is the first time they learned about missions,” Bolin said.

Almost as many adults and teens volunteered to help run the church’s Bible school. 

“This (Vacation Bible School) was almost a one-on-one experience for all those kids,” said leader Dorothy Ng. “We had so many people helping fix snacks, teaching the classes, leading the singing, instructing the craft projects and running the games.”

The kids seemed to most enjoy a play co-authored by church members Nancy Tomei and Susan Fletcher. 

“The kids hooted and hollered at their favorite characters,” Tomei said. “Nasty Pirate Pete was the favorite. ... He was played by our pastor.” 

One of the biggest parts of the church’s Bible school program was educating the kids about the need to give time, money and goods to people in need, Ng said.

“Each year, the children participating in the (Vacation Bible School) program complete a mission project,” Ng said. 
Collecting food or school supplies for Help the Children has been the mission project for the program for at least three summers.

Since opening in 2002, Help the Children-Santa Clarita has provided food, clothing, and personal hygiene supplies to over 10,000 Santa Clarita residents, said the group’s organizers. Help the Children-Santa Clarita plans to hosted a grand opening celebration on Wednesday at its new location, 25030 Ave. Tibbitts, Suite L in Valencia. 

Howell is a member of First Presbyterian Church.

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