With lots of time being poured into COVID 19 protocols and redesigning processes, it seemed a pandemic was stealing the show for this year’s holiday ministries. The twist was that, compared to any previous year, more generosity was displayed, more patience and creativity came forward, and more opportunities arose to care for neighborhood families. We are pleased to report that, per usual and in this different year, Jesus and generosity remained the season headliners, and our Very Different Annual Neighborhood Christmas Store was a blessed success.
PSM’s holiday ministries run a little differently. The hope is to love neighbors extravagantly and to be rehabilitative by affirming the dignity of parents who select and purchase new toys for their children at a steep discount. To those ends, a fully functioning neighborhood store is provided. The community provides brand new toys and funds to purchase toys which are steeply discounted and lovingly placed on shelves. A similar concept works out through a separate Kids’ Corner where kids come shop for their parents and loved ones at even steeper discounts.
This year, what a sweet time was had as shoppers young and old from two low-income neighborhoods came to shop in a safe environment with a limited number of volunteer hosts and a lot of wonderful toys with wonderful price tags. Instead of having to rush through the hustle and bustle of large crowds of families in large stores, families and staff got to just be together with our limited few per shift – laugh together, cry together, look for gifts for their kids together.
- More than $26,000 (retail value) in new toys were sold at 75% below their cost,
- 1000 benefited – parents, kids, family members: all participated in The Gift of Giving,
- 50 organizations and countless individuals gave toys and filled 250 micro-volunteer slots. A limited number came onsite. Remote volunteering came into full swing. Some wrote personalized, handmade holiday cards to shoppers; some kept up with data entry so each store shift could be stocked to fit shoppers’ wish lists; some made kits for kids to make Christmas cards for their parents; and some created household wrapping kits to send home with shoppers.
- After the final store, 500 excess toys were donated to three local nonprofits to round out their holiday ministries. Neighborhood Christmas Store was a wrap.
This holiday ministry took place while our after-school tutoring program serving eLearners and brick-and-mortar students continued. Staff and Board rejoice knowing neighborhood families enjoyed the ability to provide for their own family and were pointed to The Father who gave Jesus, the embodiment of every good and perfect gift.