Hayneville Baptist Church collect toys for HIPPY kids Christmas

Published 7:14 pm Wednesday, December 14, 2022

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Members of Hayneville Baptist Church brought toys to their Sunday morning worship, collecting toys for 17 of the children of families enrolled in Lowndes County’s Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program.

“We try to help out whenever there’s a need,” said District Judge Adrian Johnson, who is chairman of the deacons at Hayneville Baptist. “Mrs. (Samita) Jeter, who’s the head of Head Start, emailed me about the need for Christmas gifts for our children enrolled in the HIPPY program. Our goal is to try to do whatever we can to support our local Head Start program and our local schools.”

The program provides training to parents of 3- and 4-year-old children, so they can be their child’s first teacher, said HIPPY coordinator Samita Jeter.

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“Some of the Hippy children do not attend a school,” Jeter said. “We provide a 30-week curriculum parents use to teach at home. Our parent educators go out once a week for an hour and show parents how to instruct their child.”

According to Jeter, there are 75 children from low-income families who participate in HIPPY. In some cases, gifts like those collected by Hayneville Baptist may be the only Christmas gifts these children will receive.

“We try to do Toys for Tots, but not every family got their application in on time,” Jeter said. “This is why I reached out to Judge Johnson, because a couple of years ago Hayneville Baptist provided toys for the kids.”

Hayneville Baptist Ministry Assistant Stacy Casey said the church collected the toys as a way to give back to their community during the Christmas season.

“It’s about sharing the love of Christ with our community and being a light when some children don’t have that kind of bright light in their lives,” Casey said. “We just want to share Jesus. We want to share His love and give back when we are so blessed. It’s just a small, simple way that we can help to bring joy.”

Giving gifts at Christmas and helping in other ways throughout the year helps community members see that people care about them, Casey added.

“I allow people to see that we love them,” Casey said. “Jesus loves us and we love others in return.”

In addition to collecting the toys, church members packed over 85 shoeboxes for Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child ministry. The church members also contribute to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering which supports Southern Baptist missionaries serving around the world.

“Our goal was to love on our children and our community and provide a small token of love through the gift of a toy,” Casey said. “We want [children] to know that someone cares about them.”

Jeter said the HIPPY and Head Start programs rely on community partners like Hayneville Baptist to help them serve Lowndes County Children.

To learn about opportunities to partner with these programs call (334) 548-2145 or email Samita Jeter at hippy.lowndes@lowndesboe.org.