Spring Tabernacle ready to prompt holiday smiles

Each year, Spring Tabernacle Ministries hands out hundreds — if not thousands — of toys to make the Christmas season more exciting and gleeful for children in the Big Spring area. This year will be no different.“We're thrilled about all the good gifts supplied by people and donations of funds which have allowed us to purchase gifts for the children,” said Mona Lue Tonn, pastor of Spring Tabernacle, located at 1209 Wright St. in west Big Spring.The giveaway — the 16th annual by the church — is set for Wednesday and will begin at 10 a.m. This year, mothers, dads, grandparents or legal guardians can pick out four presents apiece for each of their children. There are no background checks or need to show identity of any kind.“We are a faith-based ministry. We believe if they come, they have a need. If they are here for any other reason, it's between them and God,” said Tonn.There are five rooms, filled top to bottom with toys, teddy bears, dolls, clothes and items for toddlers.Those wanting to pick up items for their children must wait in line for a church volunteer to escort them through the rooms and help them select gifts. Preferred age of the children is 2 through 12.Tonn notes that it is the parents or grandparents who pick out the gifts — not the children.“If you must bring your children, you need to bring someone to attend to them while picking out presents,” said Tonn. “We don't have enough help to have someone watch children during the giveaway.“Some parents will gladly wait two or three hours to get the gifts. Others will opt not to wait, and come back later in the day. it's a day long thing,” she added.Last year, Spring Tabernacle gave away gifts for more than 200 children. One year, the ministry served more than 600 youngsters at Christmastime.Spring Tabernacle will also give away food for Christmas dinners at 10 a.m. Thursday. Each family will receive non-perishable food items including a chicken or turkey, cranberry sauce, green beans, stuffing, etc. to make up a meal.