This past December we hosted our first annual Affordable Christmas event. For those unfamiliar with Affordable Christmas, we set up a pseudo-retail shop within our building where low-income parents could buy Christmas gifts for their children at a heavily discounted cost. This year we had parents from 10 families, totaling 27 children, come and shop. When I spoke to the families at the event, they were all very thankful to have been given the chance to participate. Several mentioned that the friendliness of our volunteers made them feel more comfortable and excited at the opportunity. In fact, several of the participating families gave beyond the purchase price of their items as a means to contribute towards growing Affordable Christmas for next year.
After the event, I sent out messages to our volunteers asking for feedback on how we could improve for next year and asking to share any memorable moments from the event. There are two specific moments I want to highlight.
The first came from one of our childcare volunteers. While the parents shopped, the kids were offered an opportunity to make their parents a fingerprint ornament for Christmas. While making her ornament, one 7-year-old girl shared with our volunteer that she was so excited about this ornament because she had planned to just give her mom $1 but this was a way better gift.
The second came from an interaction I had while talking with one of the shoppers. She told me that she’d participated in Christmas gift programs for low-income families in the past where presents were just given to them. She shared how she appreciated other’s generosity in giving gifts for her kids but she didn’t just want a handout. She appreciated that Affordable Christmas didn’t feel like just a way to receive handouts but that she was providing for her kids. This conversation was so encouraging and affirming. Her words convinced me that we were seeing our vision become a reality.
I’m excited to announce that we will be expanding the number of participants to 25 families for Affordable Christmas 2017 on December 9! Karis family, please mark your calendars. We need your help to make our second year as wonderful as the first. If you know of a family that we could bless through this event, please contact us.
I want to extend thanks to our volunteers for their warmth and hospitality for helping make this idea a reality. Last, but certainly not least, I want to say thank you to all the businesses that partnered with us for Affordable Christmas 2016.
Special thanks to our top sponsors: