The holidays are full of traditions, especially for members at Central. For the past several years, families and individuals have come together to bake and take cookies to businesses and services all over Lenoir City on Christmas Eve as part of Central's Cookie Ministry.
According to Lisa Ingmand, who helps lead and organize the Cookie Ministry, the goal is to "extend the love and appreciation of our church family to those who must be away from their families on such a blessed night."
"There's nothing sweeter than stopping into a shop and extending such a small gift of homemade cookies, and then seeing a beautiful smile on the recipient's face. All of our cookie angels look forward to this time each year and have made it part of their family’s Christmas Eve tradition," Lisa said.
"Cookie Angel" has become the name used to describe those who bake, pack, and take the cookies out to bless the community.
These "Cookie Angels" visit and drop off cookies to over 50 businesses and services, which include gas stations, emergency responders, grocery stores, hotels, and more. Lisa said that the ministry delivers close to 150 dozen cookies.
"The vast majority are homemade and last year, one of our angels made fudge to be delivered to the police and fire stations! It may sound cliché, but the most important ingredient in the cookies is love, and the cookies that are delivered to the church for packaging are full of love!" Lisa said.
Shelly Hughes, member of Central and participant in the ministry, said that she stayed up late baking cookies. She made around six dozen cookies to pack in tins to share with the community.
"It's an honor to brighten somebody's day like that," said Shelly. She hopes to bring a smile to those working the holidays by letting them know that they have not been forgotten and that their work matters.
Shelly is not the only volunteer to give her time, though. A sign up sheet in the church's Gathering Area is close to being filled with names of those who plan to take the cookies out into the community on Christmas Eve. Tins and already-baked-cookies have been gathering in the ministry's donation area. And even those who do not bring tins, bake cookies, or sign up to deliver have a role in the ministry. Lisa wants to encourage members and those in support of the ministry to pray.
"There must be plenty of prayers being lifted each year, because we have never lacked for anything, from tins, to donated cookies to delivery angels," she said.
So why does Central truly give their time by gathering together to share cookies with the community? According to Lisa, the answer is simple:
"To be the hands and feet of Christ and extend our love to those in our community. Such a simple gesture, but so impactful."
If you would like to be a part of the Cookie Ministry, here are several ways you can help:
Donate through December 21 (to Gathering Area) | new or gently used tins
Donate cookies in disposable containers through December 21 (Gathering Area)
Deliver cookies to our list of local businesses before or after the three services on Christmas Eve
Be in prayer for the hands making & packing cookies. Be in prayer for the feet delivering cookies. And pray for the hearts who give and receive the special gift.
If you have questions, please contact Lisa Ingmand (call or text) at 865-216-0718.