Most of us have heard of and even participated in Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program. You know the one… where you sponsor an Angel off of a tree from maybe your church or the Mall at Johnson City. It is an wonderful program that allows families in need to have a Christmas with presents. It gives a chance for moms & dads, aunts & uncles, grandmas & grandpas to provide their children with gifts to open on Christmas morning.
Ben Scharfstein knew of and participated in this program faithfully. However, he also wanted to provide the true story of Christmas to these children and families: the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Ben partnered with Beverly Smith, Summit Leadership Foundation and many others to begin the wonderful ministry of Christians In Action, also know as CIA.
Together this group would raise funds in order to buy Christian Christmas material for everyone in the family. Beverly scours the internet all year to find the best deals on beautiful books for these children. As families come to sign up for the Angel Tree Program, they receive a gift bag full of Christmas books. Last year CIA served 1,400 families; this year the number has grown to 1,600 after serving in other areas as well as the Angel Tree Program. While the project comes to a head during the Christmas Season, the team works year-round to raise support, research & purchase materials (books, magazines, totes, etc) and assemble the CIA Totes for the families.