Charlotte Family Gives Back at Christmas

December 11, 2018 • Worldwide
Bake sale shoppers make a donation to the gift of their choice in the Samaritan's Purse Christmas catalog. The Buttles creatively display all 42 gift items on this large board.
Bake sale shoppers (like those pictured from Dec. 7) make a donation to the gift of their choice in the Samaritan's Purse Christmas catalog. The Buttles creatively display all 42 gift items on this large board.

The Buttles family hosts an annual bake sale in the Queen City to support giving to the Samaritan’s Purse Christmas catalog.

What started out years ago as a simple family effort with a lemonade stand and a few cookies has turned into a large-scale annual bake sale to support people in need through the Samaritan’s Purse Christmas catalog.

Kristi and Bruce Buttles recently hosted their 14th bake sale at their home in Charlotte, with about 600 people in attendance and nearly $7,000 raised. All the baked goods are donated by friends and people in the community, including local bakeries. Bake sale shoppers then make a donation to the gift of their choice in our Christmas catalog.

Left to right: Paul, Kristi, and Bruce Buttles with Kristi's sister and family: Martine, Kim, Jean-Paul, and Alexa Schoubert.

Left to right: Paul, Kristi, and Bruce Buttles with Kristi’s sister and family: Martine, Kim, Jean-Paul, and Alexa Schoubert.

Shoppers chose this year among 42 catalog items, each of which will help meet a practical need and bring hope to people in desperate situations. Examples of gift items include a week’s worth of hot meals for a child, warm blankets, water filters and wells, fruit trees, and dairy animals.

“One hundred percent of the money goes to Samaritan’s Purse,” Kristi said. “The bake sale helps families teach their kids the real reason for Christmas—which is giving—and what Christ did for us by giving His life for us.”

Samaritan’s Purse also provides preprinted Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes for shoppers to fill with their baked goods. The idea is that they can then take the shoebox home and pack it with gifts for a boy or girl to be sent around the world. [Note: Shoeboxes can be dropped off at any of our processing centers, including Charlotte, until they close in mid-December. Our headquarters in Boone will accept shoebox gifts any time of the year.]

Teaching Kids to Give

The bake sale got started 14 years ago when Kristi wanted to help her three children, who were 4, 6, and 8 at the time, learn what it means to sacrificially give.

Families, children, and students all participate in the sale.

Families, children, and students all participate in the sale.

The family was already participating in Operation Christmas Child, and when a Samaritan’s Purse gift catalog arrived one day in the mail, they decided they wanted to support that, too. Each of the children picked out gifts, but Kristi realized that they were expecting her to provide the money for their purchases.

She explained that a gift often involves a sacrifice—whether time, talent, or energy—and although her children were young, she decided right then to start teaching them that important lesson.

So, the children planned a lemonade stand to raise the needed funds. They earned so much more than expected and planned to do the event again the following year. The event has grown and reached higher sales every year since.

“We believe this bake sale is all about God matching up donors with the exact gifts He has already picked out for the exact folks He calls by name,” Kristi said.

Christmas Blessings

Paul Buttles was 4 years old when the family hosted its first lemonade stand, and he is still involved in the event today.

“[My mom] taught us about personal responsibility and not expecting things to come from other people,” Paul said. “She taught us to put ourselves into it. We were doing something beneficial, even at such a young age.”

The sale has become a Christmas tradition that is much-anticipated by those in the community.

The sale has become a Christmas tradition that is much-anticipated by those in the community.

Paul said he enjoys being part of what has become a much-anticipated Christmas tradition and being able to bless people in need.

“You’re picking out someone’s Christmas present,” he said. “The catalog is genius.”

Ila Vanmilligan is a good friend of the Buttles and has shopped at the bake sale for the last eight years. Ila and her husband also contribute items for sale.

Ila appreciates the creativity of the event in that it allows individuals to choose the gifts they feel most led to give. “This is giving someone items they desperately need,” she said.

Although the bake sale is focused on giving to people around the world, Kristi has noticed that it’s become a “beautiful two-way ministry of helping those ‘here and there.’”

Kristi explained that some people come to the sale who are not Christians. The event is a great opportunity for them to learn about how God is at work all around the world.

“I think there’s a cycle of blessing,” she said. “God is using this sale to reach people right here in our city.”

EXPLORE OUR 2018 CHRISTMAS CATALOG

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