familyMichael Fredric Rose and Siba Rose’s three young children have a tradition each Christmas. For eight years, Aubrey, 13, Zen Lazarus, 12, and Emma 10, have delivered Christmas presents to needy families – first in San Jacinto where Michael was pastor of the Light of Love Chapel and now in Idyllwild.

“We wanted the children to learn the importance of giving to others,” Michael said. “This tradition began with a food drive. The toys were the children’s idea. We wanted to have the children see how they could be part of the solution, when so many are in need.” The Roses worked to acquire food and gifts through private donations and sponsoring organizations – area casinos, Wal-Mart, the U.S. Army and local fire departments. “We did this out of necessity,” Michael said. “There were so many families without adequate food. Food was first and most important.”

Over the years, the food and gift drive grew as the Rose family found more sponsor organizations. “In an average year, we and the children were delivering 300 to 500 gifts to local families,” Siba said. The family relocated to Idyllwild about two years ago, after a 13-year absence, and instituted their children’s gift-giving tradition here. This is the second year they will be making the rounds to Idyllwild families, about 10 in Idyllwild and other families in San Jacinto. Presents are selected by age group and for boys and girls, Rose explained. Families are identified through local business contacts (Michael is a local contractor), churches and personal referrals.

“We’re on call through Christmas Eve,” Siba said. She recounted a domestic violence survivor woman who arrived several years ago in San Jacinto with her two children on Christmas Eve. “We were able to assist her and the children with food and gifts.”

Zen Lazarus talked about what the experience has meant to him and why he and his siblings love continuing this tradition. “I see smiles on the kids’ faces and it makes me happy to give to someone else,” he said.

Michael explained that their goal in Idyllwild, if they could acquire a building, would be to have a full-time food pantry and outreach ministry. “We have our own 501(c)(3),” charitable organizational structure,” Siba said.

The Rose family can be reached at (951) 659-5450 through the Christmas season for referrals of families in need. For more information on their mission of giving, see www.lightoflovechapel.webs.com. For more information on Messianic Judaism, see http://www.mjaa.org/

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