Do you remember, as a child, the excitement of Christmas morning? Can you recall waking up, knowing there were presents under the tree picked out just for you? And how you ran to gaze at the shiny, wrapped packages and couldn't wait to open them? For many families in Columbia, who are just getting by with paying bills, there isn't much left to buy gifts for their children.
For these families, Christmas just isn't affordable. We want to help change that.
Karis Church will host our first Affordable Christmas on December 3, 2016. Affordable Christmas is an opportunity to empower low-income parents to purchase Christmas gifts for their children at an affordable cost while celebrating the holiday with dignity. We will be setting up tables loaded with donated gifts, which will then be priced at 10% of the retail value, making prices more reasonable for families facing financial insecurity. To make sure that we can provide enough gifts for all the families, this event will be by invitation only, and families will be asked to RSVP prior to the event. For this first year, Karis will be inviting 20 families to shop. The majority of these families live in the community around Karis Westside, so this is a wonderful opportunity for us as a church to serve and love the people living around our building. Our hope is that, through Affordable Christmas, we can start forming connections with these families that will flourish into long-term friendships going far beyond this one time event.
There are two ways in which you can help: donating gifts and volunteering.
Donate a gift
Along with asking businesses throughout Columbia to donate items, we are also asking for your help with donating gifts. Beginning November 6, a donations tree will be set up in the Nook at Westside, with gift ideas on tags. You can take a tag, purchase the gift and drop it off at Westside on or before November 27.
In order to have enough gifts for our families, our hope is for every family in Karis to donate one or two gifts.
Volunteer your time
This is going to be a fun day of helping families choose their gifts, but it will take lots of help to make things go smoothly. So, before the holidays get busy and your schedule fills up, please put Affordable Christmas on your calendar for the morning of December 3. You can sign up for the position that interests you here. Some of the roles you can fill include:
Decorator - get the space at Westside festive
Greeter - welcome families as they arrive
Registration volunteer - check in the families and explain the event details
Breakfast server - make sure there's plenty of food for the families and volunteers
Stocker - keep the shopping room full and orderly
Cashier - assist the families in checking out and paying for their gifts
Gift wrapper - wrap the gifts so there's no peeking
Building attendant - ensure the well-being of everyone in the facility
Childcare volunteer - provide a safe space for children to play, hear a short lesson and do a craft
Personal shopper - assist your assigned family every step of the way - a key role!
Clean up crew - clean up and prepare the space for Sunday's Gatherings
We hope you'll join us as we seek to be "in the city, for the city" by helping local families have an Affordable Christmas!