Love the Children Ministries (LTCM) was founded in the fall of 2004. The organization was created with the intention of standing in the gap for families who did not have the additional means to provide Christmas presents for the children in the family. What started as a small event with 90 children and their parents has grown to serving more than 300 children annually. Now, LTCM has branched out to support children in the city in additional ways including the annual Pack the Packs school supply give-away.
When LTCM started out it was housed within Crystal Park United Methodist Church on the Northeast side of the city. It remained in the same building until 2012 when LTCM relocated to LoveCanton in downtown Canton. One of the largest partners in getting LTCM up and running was Malone University. The founder of LTCM started the organization as an 18 year old freshman at the university after writing a composition paper in a freshman level english course. In the paper, Heather Craig looked at the difference between pity and compassion. A conversation happened in the same class where the organization Toys for Tots was talked about. That is the moment that Heather Craig says everything changed. “I could not tell you what happened the rest of that class session as I felt the Lord give me a calling for my life. The Lord began to flood me with visions of a toy drive benefiting children here in the city of Canton. Those visions continued for what seemed like hours, and now 12 years later the vision has come to fruition and grown.”
What followed in the next couple of months was nothing short of the Lord’s provision as faculty members at Malone University heard the vision, got involved and began to invest in Heather Craig to grow her leadership skills and ask the tough questions. Over the next four years, LTCM continued to grow and develop into a larger ministry in the city.
In 2010, LTCM hosted the inaugural Pack the Packs event where they provided supplies for 120 students through a local after school program. The Pack the Packs program focuses on one organization or school each year and provides all of the supplies for the students who participate. In the proceeding years LTCM partnered with Dueber Elementary School, Heritage Christian School and Madge Youtz Elementary School. Pack the Packs experienced a record breaking year in 2015 after teaming up with 11 area Starbucks stores to collect school supplies. LTCM was able to adopt a second school and provide all of the supplies for a total of 638 students.