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Local WMU prepares Christmas care packages for campus-bound students

The Burnt Swamp (N.C.) WMU leadership oversaw the compilation and delivery of 150 care packages to local university students unable to go home for Christmas.

PEMBROKE, N.C. (BP) – For many college students, traveling home for the holiday break is simply not an option.

That’s why the Burnt Swamp Baptist Association’s WMU partnered with local law enforcement to prepare care packages for students staying at the University of North Carolina’s Pembroke (UNCP) campus during their break.

A few years ago, Steve Strickland, Burnt Swamp’s associational mission strategist, was approached by UNCP’s police and public safety department about creating care packages for students staying on campus.

Whether it be international students, athletes or students whose families are simply too far away, being home for the holidays is just not an option for many people. But through the partnership of the association and campus law enforcement, their needs are met.

The care packages contain snacks, school supplies, socks and hygiene products. This year, more than 100 boxes were prepared for campus-bound students.

Strickland told a local news outlet that preparing the packages as a way to show the students Christ’s love was a no-brainer.

“We’re people of faith and we believe that’s just what the Bible teaches us to do, what the Lord would have us do. It’s a part of who we are,” Strickland said “That’s our main focus, doing missions whether it’s in our backyard or internationally, it’s what we do.”

He praised the hard work of both the local churches in the association and the local Woman’s Missionary Union leadership team.

“They are very special because they just do it out of the love of their own heart,” Strickland said.

WMU leadership team member Suzanne Locklear said the team prepared 100 of the care packages in one day. Other local churches prepared a handful of the packages, taking the grand total to around 150.

The team’s efforts were simply out of obedience, Locklear said.

“The Bible tells us it’s our mission to make sure if there is anybody in need to take care of that person,” Locklear said. “The Lord has blessed me beyond measure so I would love to be able to bless others by outreach and in any way that I can.”

The care packages are not the only way the WMU serves students.

The team also partners with churches in the association, as well as a local charity based in Charlotte, N.C., to order coats, boots and a Christmas bag for about 150 public elementary school students.

Locklear said the leadership team plans to continue preparing the packages for years to come as a way to show God’s love and fulfill their team’s purpose.

“I think it’s a calling of God for all of the women who work on this project because we want to show the love of Christ to others and we want them to see Christ in us,” she said. “That’s our main goal is to reach out as that’s what we’re called to do.”