It's officially crunch-time for holiday shoppers, last-minute gift-grabbing and final preparations for those special Christmas gatherings with family and friends —but when you don't have presents, a tree or even a place to call home, traditional Christmas celebrations take on a very different look.

It's officially crunch-time for holiday shoppers, last-minute gift-grabbing and final preparations for those special Christmas gatherings with family and friends —but when you don't have presents, a tree or even a place to call home, traditional Christmas celebrations take on a very different look.

Shawnee Rescue Mission is keeping the holiday season special for those whose lives don't fit that Hallmark-movie atmosphere that many take for granted this time of year.

The mission's director, Glenn Blankenship, is putting a call out to the community to help sponsor the local homeless so they, too, won't miss out on special Christmas Day memory-making moments.

“We have about 100 of the homeless come to the Shawnee Rescue Mission for a free breakfast and Christmas lunch,” he said, “and are all given gifts from people in the community of Shawnee.”

Blankenship said each homeless person gives the mission a wish list of what they want — usually very practical things like sleeping bags, tents and coats.

“Then someone will sponsor them and go buy the items off the list for the homeless and wrap them up, and we give them to them on Christmas Day,” he said.

More than 19 homeless in Shawnee still need help, he explained.

The mission plans to have a meal for those homeless who would otherwise have nowhere else to go on Christmas Day, he said.

“Please continue to pray and look out for those in need, especially this winter and Christmas,” he said in a Facebook post. “God loves them and cares for the least of these every bit as he does for us.”

There are various ways to participate in this gift-giving opportunity:

• Cook and bring a dish on Christmas Day for the afternoon lunch — like a ham, turkey, side dish or dessert. Message or text Sarah Inselman about food/ meal at (405) 412-7061.

• We need necessary items to give as Christmas gifts, Blankenship said. Donate socks, underwear, blankets, gloves or other items.

“We're expecting 100 or more for Christmas Day, so if you want to go buy 100 pairs of socks or gloves or any little thing like candy, we can use them still,” he said.

• Monthly financial help is needed and appreciated;

“If you are not receiving assistance from this ministry and would like to help fund these services and outreaches, maybe you, your church or business would please consider making a monthly or one time gift of $25 or $100 a month for 2020 can really help out a lot,” he said. “We see so many in need in our community, but we can't do it without the funding.”

Blankenship said Shawnee Rescue Mission is a faith-based, all-volunteer ministry that receives no state or government funding.

“It's completely funded by local donations,” he said. Gifts are tax deductible.

To help, visit http://www.shawneerescuemission.com/donate

or send a check to: Finley and Cook CPAs, c/o Shawnee Rescue Mission, 601 N. Broadway, Shawnee, Oklahoma, 74801.