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Teens have gift of giving

Heidi Rice

While other teens may be wishing for skateboards or skis for Christmas, the youth group at the United Methodist/Presbyterian Church in Rifle is hoping for funds to help purchase gifts for needy children in the area and senior citizens.The church youth group has been actively raising funds to purchase gifts for LIFT-UP’s Angel Tree program and to make gifts to take to local seniors.The kids had planned on buying Angel Tree gifts even before hearing about a theft several weeks ago at the local LIFT-UP office in Rifle, when all the presents were stolen from a storage shed.”But when we read about it, we thought this would be a really great way to give some help,” said Nancy MacGregor, the youth group leader.With about a dozen teens ranging in age from junior high to high school, the group must raise money for any activity it plans, including attending conferences and learning youth leadership skills.”These kids have worked so hard,” MacGregor said. “They’re real energetic and responsible kids.”Along with the Angel Tree gifts, the group wants to give something to the seniors at the local nursing home.”They want to help people who belong to the church and those who don’t by making a Christmas gift of something they can put in their windows,” MacGregor said.Not that they don’t have enough projects of their own.The youth group was recently given the entire basement floor of the church building at 200 East 4th Street to call their own. However, the room needs to be renovated and remodeled as the building is one of the oldest structures – and the oldest church – in the city of Rifle.The kids have painted and remodeled and done what they’ve can to make the area their official space, with hopes of putting in a pool table and television set.But they put those dreams aside and told MacGregor they wanted to use the money they had to help with the Angel Tree project instead.”What happened to the fun stuff you wanted for yourselves?” MacGregor asked with surprise.Pastor Rich Stoakes of the United Methodist/Presbyterian Church commends the youth group on their unselfish efforts.”This is a multi-focused youth group that wants to give time to do community outreach projects,” Stoakes said. “They’re also very involved in conference activities and developing youth leadership skills.”But helping others oftentimes takes funding.”These kids want to get into doing more for the church and the community,” MacGregor said. “And a lot of times that requires money. This groups needs support just like any of the other big groups.””These kids want to get into doing more for the church and the community,” MacGregor said. “And a lot of times that requires money. This groups needs support just like any of the other big groups.”


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