Christmas Store to provide gifts for children
HUGULEY — The staff and volunteers for the Christian Service Center have been very busy in recent days getting ready for the annual Christmas Store. It will be taking place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET on Nov. 5, 6, 7 and 8.
“We are making appointments for the families that have signed up,” said Cheryl Myers, director of the Christian Service Center. “You have to have signed up to receive toys for your children. “The deadline passed with around 100 local families signed up. If you missed the deadline, you can come in on Wednesday, Nov. 14 to qualify for last-minute gifts.”
Toys for the Christmas Store have been donated by churches, businesses, civic clubs and individuals.
Myers is pretty savvy about purchasing Christmas gifts. “Now’s not the time to do it,” she said. “The best time is December 26. Everything is on clearance at that time. That’s when we need cash donations.”
Myers pointed to the example of a child’s riding toy she bought the day after Christmas last year. Had she bought it on Dec. 24 it would have cost $50. On the day after Christmas she can get five of them for that same amount of money. She’s made some good contacts over the years.
“People know what we do, and they are good about calling us and telling us when items will be going on sale,” she said. “They know the kinds of toys children are asking for.”
It’s still a bit early to know what the shopping trends will be, but Myers said she’s getting a lot of requests for LOL Surprise! dolls.
“I don’t know what they are, but the little girls want them,” she said. “Children also like items they can put together, items that are related to STEM education.”
Myers said she loves her job, especially this time of year. “It’s so much fun to play Santa,” she said.
This will be the second year for the Christmas Store.
“The parents who have signed up can come in, look at what we have and pick out items for their children,” she said. “We have about the same number of families this year as we had last year.”
The CSC will be closed next week to get ready for the Christmas Store, which is set for the first full week of November. Starting Monday, Nov. 12th, the Christian Service Center will be open every week day until the day before Thanksgiving. After the Thanksgiving break, they will be open plenty of days before Christmas.
“We hope to be open until December 20,” she said. “We will be open from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 23.”
Myers hates the thought of a single family not having a good Christmas. That’s why they will be open on Dec. 23. She sees many single-parent households headed by women who make tremendous sacrifices for their kids.
“We ask them if there’s anything we can get for them at Christmas and they always tell us that they’re fine. All they want is for their children to have something for Christmas,” she said.
Dec. 23 will be a critical day for some families.
“Some of them wait to the last minute and then have nothing to give their children,” Myers said. “They were hoping for an ex-husband or boyfriend to come through for them for the kids’ sake but they don’t.”
When all else fails, Myers wants the Christian Service Center to be a place for last resort.