The Christmas Store is a community wide effort to collect donations from community members, business partners, churches, and service groups and make them available for purchase to families at a discount of 80%-90% off retail price. The foundational belief of this program is that “…families would prefer to provide for themselves at Christmas, rather than receive a hand out. Even if a family has limited means to do so, a mom, dad, aunt, uncle or grandparent wants to buy gifts for their families around the holidays.”
Over the last three years, it has been a privilege to partner with Shafter Healthy Start, an organization that provides support resources to families in the Richland School District, to serve over 100 families through The Christmas Store. We’ve collected approximately 1,500 toys and worked with hundreds of volunteers.
2020 has been a year that no one expected and it will be a year no one will forget. Given the tumultuous events of this year, we know there is great need in our community. The Shafter Christmas Store is adapting the model to come alongside neighbors in a way that is safe and still full of Christmas spirit. As event organizers Melissa Bergen, Katie Wiebe and Brittney Neal-Soberanis begin to think about The Christmas Store in 2020, it was easy to see that it is needed now more than ever before. As a leadership team, they also quickly recognized they would likely face greater challenges making this event a reality than in years past.
The first priority is to protect the health of families and volunteers. For this reason, rather than having an in-person event, parents will shop for gifts on The Christmas Store website in early December and collect gifts at a curbside event that will have socially distance Christmas spirit. The connection of physical proximity with our neighbors that made The Christmas Store so special will be greatly missed. But we believe making these changes is showing love and care for our neighbors. Please donate and help provide the magic of Christmas to the whole family.
Toy collections will take place throughout the months of October and November. The Christmas Store will take place on Saturday, December 12th.
The Christmas Store Team is looking for help in the following areas:
Toy Collection/Donations: Due to COVID-19 The Shafter Christmas Store is only accepting gift cards and monetary donations or toys purchased from the Amazon wishlist. This will allow our donors and volunteers to minimize the need to be out in public places where toys are purchased, donated, and collected. It will also make it more stream lined to put on the website.
Christmas Store Volunteers: Volunteer opportunities will still be available. Although, they will look different than in years past. We have a variety of volunteer roles and would love to have you join us!