Collection continues through Monday, Nov. 23, for shoe boxes packed for Operation Christmas Child.


Hays has two collection sites. They are Messiah Lutheran Church, 2000 Main St. Collections times there are:


Friday, Nov. 20: 4 to 6 p.m.


Saturday, Nov. 21: 1 to 3 p.m.


Sunday, Nov. 22: Noon to 2 p.m.


Monday, Nov. 23: 9 to 11 a.m.


The second collection site in Hays is CrossPoint Church, 1300 Harvest Road. Drop-off times there are:


Friday, Nov. 20: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Saturday, Nov. 21: 4 to 6 p.m.


Sunday, Nov. 22: 4 to 6 p.m.


Monday, Nov. 23: 9 to 11 a.m.


Operation Christmas Child is a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization headquartered in Boone, N.C. Each year thousands of individuals pack shoe boxes with toys, school supplies and hygiene items that are sent to needy children around the world to demonstrate God’s love for them in a tangible way. For many children, this is the first gift they have ever received.


Rachel Albin of Hays, Northwest Kansas area director, said that because of the pandemic, shoe box collection is being handled a bit differently this year. Donors are being greeted at curbside drop-offs by volunteers wearing personal protection equipment, she said.


Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/buildonline/


to select gifts matched to a child’s specific age and gender.


More information is available by contacting Albin at ralbinmk@yahoo.com.


ECMA food drive to take place Saturday


Volunteers with the Ellis County Ministerial Alliance (ECMA) will be collecting non-perishable grocery items this weekend that will be bagged and distributed on Thanksgiving Day, in conjunction with the annual Community Thanksgiving Feast.


Volunteers will be collecting the grocery items, as well as monetary donations, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, at Walmart and both Dillons stores in Hays. Lists of needed items will be available to shoppers at those locations.


Bags of those items will be distributed from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day in the parking lot of the Community Assistance Center, 208 E. 12th St.


The Rev. Celeste Lasich with the ECMA said sacks would be distributed first to those who pre-registered for the Thanksgiving Feast. The sack distribution will be a drive-thru event, with volunteers placing bags in cars through contactless delivery. If any bags remain, they will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis as long as supplies last, Lasich said.


Ken Brooks, who has headed up the annual Community Feast food drive for 13 years, said volunteers are still needed to collect items on Saturday. Volunteers may sign up by calling First Call for Help at (785) 623-2800.


Brooks said volunteers are also needed to sort and bag the items. That will take place starting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25, in the gym of Celebration Community Church, 5790 230th Ave. Brooks said walk-in volunteers are welcome.


Men’s Quartet to perform at North Oak


An evening of Southern Gospel-style music will be presented by the Men’s Quartet at North Oak Community Church, 3000 Oak St., at 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22.


"We’re old-fashioned hymn singers," said Darrell Blosser, who sings bass in the quartet. Other members are Dave Barber, baritone; Bryan Noone, tenor; and James Mulkey, lead. Rich Matzke is the accompanist.


The concert is free and open to the public. Social distancing and mask protocols will be observed.


‘Blue Christmas’ service scheduled


Three Hays churches are teaming up to provide a "Blue Christmas" service at 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29, at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 2900 Canal Blvd.


"For some, the holiday season brings feelings of sadness, disappointment, loneliness or loss," said the Rev. Shay Craig, vicar at St. Michael’s. "This simple service acknowledges those feelings and provides a space of quiet holiness, a vocabulary of prayer and song, and a reminder that we are not alone," she added. "All are welcome."


The ecumenical service is a joint effort by St. Michael's, Trinity Lutheran Church, and First Presbyterian Church.


Craig may be reached at rev.shay.craig@gmail.com. The Rev. Brenda Roger, pastor at Trinity Lutheran, may be reached at tlcpr@eaglecom.net.


Salvation Army looking for bell ringers


The Salvation Army is looking for people to "ring them bells" in Hays during the holiday season.


Julie Smith, the ministry’s Ellis County coordinator, said volunteers are needed to ring the traditional holiday bells and collect funds at five Hays locations through Dec. 24. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. six days a week. "We do not ring on Sundays or on holidays," Smith said. Volunteers are able to set their own hours.


The Christmas bell-ringing fundraiser is the ministry’s only source of funds in Ellis County, Smith said, and all funds raised here stay in Ellis County.


"If I don’t raise a lot of money, I can’t help a lot of people," she said. "Because of COVID, there are a lot of (aid) requests out there."


There are no age limits on volunteers, although children bell ringers must have a parent present. Volunteers may sign up by calling Smith at (785) 621-2794, go to registertoring.com, or message her on Facebook.


Donors may also mail monetary donations to her office at Salvation Army, 203 E. Seventh, Suite A, Hays, KS 676701.