January 4

A Minnesota Toy Story

By Chris Meehan

More than 100 children will have a brighter Christmas, thanks to Servant Branch and its Action division. The second and third Saturdays in December, Action members sponsored a toy and clothing giveaway on the West Side of St. Paul, in the basement of the former convent where 11 People of Praise members live.

The pre-Christmas giveaway was the brainchild of two juniors at Trinity School at River Ridge, Ailish Koerpel and Mary Michaud. Ailish says, “Just a few weeks ago I overheard my mother say she wanted to donate my brother's winter coat to Goodwill or Salvation Army. Although the coat was still in good shape, my brother had outgrown it. I wanted to feel a more personal connection than simply giving it to an anonymous person somewhere, so I suggested we give it to someone on the west side of St. Paul.”

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This selection of Advent and Christmas pieces features music both old and new, in a variety of styles and languages, and highlights different aspects of the incarnation and the story of Christ’s birth.


“I decided to call out and ask if everything was okay. They yelled back in what sounded like Pennsylvania Dutch, which I couldn't understand, but I could tell something was wrong."


Dana and Patty Hammer thought they were done raising children. "Then one day a call came, asking if they could be foster parents to a six-month-old named Bentley."