I helped at Hope’s Corner for the Holiday Sharing Program last weekend. Hope’s Corner (the hot breakfast program on Saturdays at Trinity United Methodist Church) recently partnered with Community Services Agency, who has had a big toy distribution program in our community for years.
They’ve joined forces on the toy distribution project and this year they offered children’s activities. While the parents “shopped” for toys, gift cards and holiday groceries at CSA, their children enjoyed cookies, crafts and a visit with Santa at Hope’s Corner.
The kids were also able to shop for gift for their parents while they were working on craft projects. Each kid got to pick out something for their Mom and Dad. I had one little guy who insisted on getting something for his grandmother too. The kids would tell us things about their parents and we would help them pick the presents, if they needed help. Others were very decisive and knew exactly what they wanted.
The donated parent-presents were collected, and merchandised by several Leadership Mountain View students, Tina Ambrogi and Sunil G.
There were about 80 kids registered to go shopping for their parents. The kids each picked out something for each parent and volunteers (I was one) wrapped the gifts and gave each kid name tags for the presents.
The donated gift items were things like new bundles of socks, unused cosmetics and fragrances, new fashion jewelry, gift-with-purchase items from department stores, scented candles, and warm slippers.
I’m sure this program will happen again next year, and now that Leadership Mountain View has a bit of experience running a pop-up boutique where kids shop for their parents, the store will be even bigger and better.
I wanted to write about this program so that I could ask people to save little items throughout the year that they could donate to this cause. Just toss anything re-giftable into a paperbag in your closet, and by next December, you’ll probably have a nice little bag of gifts that will make the recipients quite happy.
This project also required quite a bit of wrapping paper, and gift bags. Those items would be wonderful donations, if you would like to help. I think that the project could also use a few more adults to volunteer. It takes quite a bit of one-on-one time to help a 6-year-old pick out appropriate presents, and to wrap the gifts.
It was a really nice way to spend my Saturday and to connect with my community. The kids were incredibly grateful to get to shop for free, and thrilled at the idea of presenting the gifts to their parents on Christmas. I reminded them that what’s inside was a secret, because I have horrible childhood memories of spilling the beans, and then crying when I realized that I had accidentally told my Mom about the SECRET present that I made in school for her for Mothers Day. If I can help one little kid avoid the heart ache of blabbing too much, I’ll be happy.