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B'ville: Open hearts warm small hands

Mittens, hats and scarves are items that every child in Central New York needs.

By donating these necessities to their mitten tree, members of the Hillview Community Baptist Church are doing their part to make sure underprivileged children do not go without.

"It gives us a warm feeling knowing we are warming the heads, hands and hearts of children," said Lois Place of Village Green, who has been a member of the congregation for more than 40 years.

Place said the mitten tree has been a project the congregation has supported for about a decade and every year a Baldwinsville school or local organization benefits from their generous donations. One year, the collection went to children of prisoners, a proposal that member Kathy Jolly renewed this year.

"Kathy Jolly is very involved with Prison Ministries, so we decided we would help prisoners' children this year," Place said.

Jolly has been a member of Hillview Community Baptist for a little more than a year. Having befriended Pastor Shirley Myers years ago, Jolly started attending Hillview when she found out Myers was the new pastor. Being an advocate for Jail Ministries, an organization that benefits individuals in the criminal justice system and their families, Jolly suggested the church donate the mitten and hat collections to the children of inmates.

"Most of these people are on assistance, and with their significant others being in prison, a lot of these families are struggling," Jolly said.

Through PEACE Inc., the donations will be distributed to the children of prisoners in Jamesville Penitentiary.

Every week during the Advent season, members donated mitten, hats and scarves to be distributed to the needy children. If it could be hung on the tree, then it was. If not, two baskets were available beneath the tree for the gifts. Although the congregation traditionally collects mittens, hats and scarves only, Jolly also put together a list of all types of clothing that the children needed.

"Through the donation process, I think the families of prisoners are often forgotten," Jolly said.

Hillview Community Baptist Church is located on O'Brien Road in Baldwinsville. Upcoming events include a Fifth Sunday Worship Through Song at 11 a.m. this Sunday, Dec. 30, which will feature special music from the choir, the Fuhrmans, Betty Humphrey and Carol Beckwith. Hillview will also host a New Year's Eve potluck dinner with games at 6 p.m. Dec. 31, which will conclude with a service of meditation and reflection with Communion. All are invited.

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