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home : features : parish life

12/21/2017 9:00:00 AM
AMAZON.COM
New Lebanon parish has online Christmas wish list
BY EMILY BENSON
STAFF WRITER

What does Immaculate Conception parish in New Lebanon want for Christmas? Sharpie highlighters and paper clips, among other things.

If the parish gets its wish, those items won't be delivered by a jolly, old man with a big red sack; they'll be delivered from Amazon.com.

Back in July, Immaculate Conception created an Amazon wish list, encouraging parishioners to visit the website and purchase an item or two for the parish in honor of a friend or relative's birthday or anniversary, or as a Christmas gift for the parish.

The gifts would be sent to the church, and a note honoring the person who made the donation would be attached to the package.

Elizabeth Keefner, administrative assistant at the parish, came up with the wish list idea after having created lists for other not-for-profit organizations she worked for and seeing the success of those efforts.

Ms. Keefner recently celebrated her own birthday. Instead of getting herself anything or accepting gifts from others, she asked her family to purchase something off the parish's wish list as her birthday present.

"My family went on [Amazon] and bought $100 in office supplies for the church," she told The Evangelist.

Giving frees up extra funds in the parish's budget. Money that would have gone toward office supplies can support other efforts, such as groundskeeping or improving the worship space.

"There's a lot of churches out there that do struggle," said Ms. Keefner. "I think any parish can use the help."

The parish has a variety of items on its wish list, though Ms. Keefner says that everything on it is "pretty much essential." Binder clips, white envelopes, Lysol spray, hand sanitizer, paper towels and toilet paper are just some of the things the parish hopes to receive.

With the holidays in full swing, the hope is that giving will pick up more.

"Especially at a time such as Christmas, we go through a lot of paper, with [printing] the extra publications and worship aids," said Rev. John Close, pastor of Immaculate Conception. Copy paper is also on the parish's wish list: It can cost up to $60 for one package.

"It's something where just one drop into a bucket finally fills the bucket," Father Close said.

The pastor hopes to expand the parish's presence on Amazon in the coming year and become a charitable organization on AmazonSmile. For any purchase made through AmazonSmile, Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of the purchase price to a charitable organization of one's choice. Father Close hopes parishioners will use their online shopping to give back to their parish.

Until then, Immaculate Conception is working on checking off the items on its wish list. Since the initiative began, three families have purchased gifts for the parish through the list. Even that small amount helps.

"This church is very important to me," said Ms. Keefner. "I want to make any efforts that can help the church, save them some money and meet their goals."

(View Immaculate Conception's wish list at https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/30DAE4Q8WNJRJ/ref=nav_wishlist_lists_2.)





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