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Appalachian Christmas Outreach

The Appalachian Coalfields Ministry, sponsored by NCBM, seeks to help meet the physical and spiritual needs of people living in the Appalachian Area. Working with scores of ministry centers and small churches in five Appalachian states, we help mobilize volunteers and resources to meet needs. One of the greatest ministry needs in this area occurs around Christmastime. NCBM is calling on churches statewide to respond to this need through Appalachian Christmas Outreach 2017Our goal is to collect 10,000 backpacks of items to be distributed to Appalachian children in areas of need in December 2017. Statewide collection date will be Saturday, November 4. Collection areas will be set up across the state for churches to bring their backpacks.

What kind of difference does this ministry make? Click here to see responses from some of the children who recieved backpacks this past December.

Backpack-Guide-Downtown-Toronto-Chiropractor1-(1).jpg  DSCN1349-(web).jpg  Children-at-Heritage-(web)-(2).jpg  


1) COLLECT ITEMS AND PREPARE BACKPACKS to be taken to a regional distribution center on Saturday, November 4 (a list of collection sites will be listed below later in the year). Start collecting items now. Each zippered school backpack should include:
1) School supplies such as crayons, notebook paper, pencils, pens, composition books, folders, erasers and rulers
2) Small items of NEW clothing such as winter hats, gloves, socks, underwear
3) Small pop-top canned food such as ravioli, tuna, beef stew, vegetables, fruit
4) At least one NEW, age appropriate non-breakable toy (no toy weapons, please!)
5) Hygiene items including toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, washcloth, brush or comb, shampoo, deodorant 
     (try to fit these items into a one gallon Ziploc bag).
6) A children’s Bible or youth Bible (no one version is required)
7) Fresh, wrapped candy (no chocolate please, as it may melt)
8) A copy of "The Christmas Story" and a "Mailbox Bible Club" enrollment.**
**We ask that you enclose a copy of the Christmas story in each bag as well as an enrollment card for the Appalachian Regional Ministry Mailbox Bible Club. The Mailbox Club is an ongoing correspondence discipleship program that has been very effective throughout Appalachia. (Click on the link above for each one to download). Packing hint: The Bible, Christmas Story flyer, and Mailbox card seem to fit best in the front pocket of the backpack.
Each backpack should be labeled boy or girl as well as the appropriate age. Age group labels should be 3-5, 6-9 or 10-14. Labels should be on cardstock or index card and attached to the backpack in a secure manner. We suggest punching a hole in the card and using ribbon, twine, or zip-tie to attach it to the pack. Please do not write the gender/age information on masking tape, as it will very likely come off during transport.  

We ask that you prepare your backpack as you would for your own child or grandchild, with new items, not used ones. This quality gift may be the only Christmas present this child receives, and will be a witness of Christ’s love.
Websites for School Backpacks: Websites for Bibles:                                  
Dollar Days All
Bacpacks, USA Biblica
Wholesale Stock Room                                Ollies
Bags in Bulk Family Christian
For Others, Search "Discount Backpacks" Bibles by the Case
Websites for School Supplies:   Websites for Toys/Games:                            
Dollar Days Dollar Days
Deals (Dollar Tree) Hollar
Blu School Supplies                                            Empire Discount
Bags in Bulk Mattel Charity Sales

ACO Associational Representatives - Several have agreed to be Appalachian Christmas Outreach representatives for their association in 2017. They are available to give advice, support, and to possibly come speak to you and your church about how to be involved in this ministry effort. Please contact them directly if you would like their assitance. If your association is not listed, feel free to contact the representative closest to you. 

2) BE A COLLECTION SITE FOR YOUR AREA for the Christmas backpacks. We need churches and/or association offices who can have volunteers ready to meet and assist those who might bring backpacks by on Saturday, November 4 between the hours of 9am and 3 pm, and who can provide either an enclosed trailer or a box truck for the backpacks to be loaded into. The backpacks collected will then be transported to either Shelby  Mission Camp or Red Springs Mission Camp (near Lumberton) on Friday, November 10 for processing that will take place on Saturday, November 11.

3) PARTNER WITH AN APPALACHIAN MINISTRY and/or DELIVER BACKPACKS TO A MINISTRY SITE. Some ministry sites in the Appalachian region have requested NC churches to come conduct a Christmas outreach event in conjunction with the distribution of the backpacks. Event may include preparation of food, games, gospel presentation, etc . Your church would deliver and distribute filled backpacks to the ministry site at the event and participate in ministry activities, which will be planned according to the desires and direction of the ministry center/church. Teams wishing to participate must register through NCBM’s Appalachian Coalfields Partnership. Instructions will be sent to the team leader. We will also need some to simply deliver backpacks to ministry sites.

UPDATE: Requests for partners to help in Christmas Outreach events will be collected in April. After that, matches will be made. If your church is interested in being a partner for one of these event, please check and send this form to Mark Abernathy at 

4) VOLUNTEER A DAY TO HELP PROCESS THE BACKPACKS. We will need volunteers for a day to assist in the processing of the backpacks that are collected across the state. This will include examining the backpacks to make sure they include needed materials, sorting them according to age and gender, and preparing them for transport. This processing will take place at Shelby Mission Camp and at Red Springs Mission Camp on Saturday, November 11 from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm. If you can assist for a day, please contact the NCBM office by e-mail at Please do not plan to simply show up, as we need to know how many we will have. NCBM will provide lunch for those day-workers who we have registered.
(Sites will be listed later in the year - please check back)
Plan to bring your backpacks to one of these locations on Saturday, November 4 between the hours of 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. The contact number provided is only in case you need to contact someone while en route to deliver your backpacks. For questions prior to collection, contact Mark Abernathy at 919-459-5607

Church Address Contact Person Phone