This is the weekend. And you can help.
Christmas Store, run by New Horizons Fellowship Church in Apex, has offered low-income families the opportunity to give their children new toys at Christmas time since 2004.
This Friday and Saturday, Dec. 11-12, the store will do that again, with your help.
“One of the elements that sets Christmas Store apart from other gift-giving programs in the area is that it allows parents to choose the gifts that are given to each child, which provides the greatest joy to the child in terms of a match with his or her interests, and grants dignity to the parents in that they are the ones who are choosing and giving the gifts to their children,” said Morgan Stikeleather, Christmas Store administrator.
Christmas Store typically provides toys to children age 14 years and younger. Families can choose two to three toys per child.
Refreshments are provided during the shopping experience, and children are looked after separately in order to keep the excitement and surprise on Christmas morning.
In addition to providing toys, Christmas Store connects families to additional resources that they may need, like local food pantries.
Organizations that work with low-income families, such as Western Wake Crisis Ministry, Dorcas Ministries, Southern Wake Faith Community in Action, the Fuquay-Varina Emergency Food Pantry and the Holly Springs Food Cupboard, aid in referring families to the Christmas Store. School counselors also refer students who are in need.
“Several families each year send thank-you notes to the church after the store,” Stikeleather said. “Some families over the years have continued to participate in other community events throughout the year after their Christmas Store experience.”
How to Help
By accepting only new toys in their original packaging, Christmas Store ensures that the children who are receiving the toys get nothing but the best.
“Many people find it's easiest to buy toys for younger children, but older girls often enjoy personal accessory items such as wallets, scarves or jewelry sets, while older boys prefer sports accessories like water bottles, drawstring bags or trendy items like Nike Elite socks,” Stikeleather explained.
For those in the community who feel more compelled to donate monetarily, there are “elf-envelopes” available. These donations go toward buying more gifts or items that help the gift giving, like wrapping paper and batteries.