Nonprofits Team Up with Community to Help Their Patrons Give Gifts This Holiday Season

A vacant storefront at the corner of Division Avenue and Cherry Street is filling up with holiday gifts that will be available for struggling individuals in the area on Saturday, Dec. 18.

The space will be transformed into the Heartside Community Christmas Store, a holiday gifts store, where hundreds of area shelter residents will be able to purchase presents for loved ones at discounted prices.

The gifts are all items that have been donated by individuals and organizations in the community.

This is the third year Dégagé Ministries and Mel Trotter Ministries have teamed up to organize this very special event. The organizations said the event is about more than just gift giving; it’s about “dignity.”

“Handouts are nice, but it’s empowering to anyone, particularly the less fortunate, to be able to offer a gift that you could pay for,” explained Bob Kreter, marketing manager for Dégagé Ministries.

The former Goodwill space is being transformed to the Heartside Community Christmas Store for a half-day event to allow struggling individuals to purchase gifts for loved ones.
The former Goodwill space is being transformed to the Heartside Community Christmas Store for a half-day event to allow struggling individuals to purchase gifts for loved ones.

Kreter said Christmas is often the one time of year many of these individuals see their families and it can be an awkward meeting. Being able to present an unexpected gift can ease some of that awkwardness.

“We know that Christmas is much more than buying gifts, but it is a tradition that brings joy to both the one giving and the one receiving. It is one of many ways to celebrate the birth of Christ our savior,” said Kreter.

The Heartside Community Christmas Store is being held on Tuesday, Dec. 18, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 200 Division Ave. S.The Christmas store is available to homeless individuals or individuals living in temporary housing within the 49503 zip code.

Items are available for patrons to buy at discounted prices during the event. Additionally, some patrons can use vouchers from Dégagé and Mel Trotter to pay for items. Vouchers are earned when patrons do jobs for the missions.

Each fall Dégagé publishes a “wish list” of items needed to help its patrons enjoy Christmas.  The public can donate items through Dec. 17. People can drop off items to Dégagéor Mel Trotter Mission, or order and deliver directly from Amazon.com using the Dégagé Ministries Wish List.

More on the online store and wish list is available by clicking here.

*Photos courtesy of Dégagé Ministries

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