Santa and Mrs. Claus go virtual to help homeless population in Johnson County


PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) -Santa and Mrs. Claus are taking their Christmas greetings virtual this year in an effort to keep families safe during the pandemic. In doing so, they are also taking the opportunity to spread a little security to the homeless population in Johnson County.

North Pole Greetings from the Claus couple allows families to request personalized videos for loved ones and the money collected is donated to Encounter Missions, an outreach of Paintsville First United Methodist Church and Mayo Church.

“When the doors are closed due to a pandemic, you have to go to them. You have to go to your neighbors,” said Paintsville First United Methodist Pastor Tyler Brumfield. “God is at work outside of the walls of the church as much as he is inside of the walls of the church.”

Encounter Missions has been operating for seven years in the area, working to make all people feel welcome. Part of that mission includes a backpack program, which gives necessities to people in need. Each backpack includes personal hygiene items, warming items, winter accessories, blankets, and Bible literature, as well as non-perishable food items, flashlights, and batteries.

“We see more and more persons who are on the streets. Who have no place to keep their belongings; who have no belongings to keep,” said Mayo Church Pastor Amy Chapman.

Organizers say the project is important to the churches involved because it serves as a reminder that someone is always there for you, even when you feel your lowest.

“Oftentimes we think that we have to do something big to make a difference. But it’s the small things that make the difference,” said Encounter Missions Director Beth Castle.

She said it all goes back to Encounter Mission’s motto, “Whoever you are, where ever you are, welcome.”

“So many of them will come back and thank us and actually just tell us what it meant to know that ‘Last night, I was in the cold. But I was able to pull out that blanket,’” said Castle.

The videos purchased from North Pole Greetings cost $25 and all proceeds go to the project, allowing community members to be a part of the mission while getting a Christmas message from the jolly Christmas duo.

To order a personalized message, click here.

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