What is the Christmas Store?
The Christmas Store of Cleveland County is a community project involving hundreds of people who donate their energies and resources to help low- income families help themselves to a better Christmas.
How does the Christmas Store of Cleveland County work?
Just before Christmas the store is set up with donated time, money and merchandise. Here, low-income families can shop for food, toys, and household goods. They choose what their family needs, not what someone else thinks they should have. They can buy gifts and food with a fixed quota determined by the number of family members. The clients pay for these gifts by helping set up the Christmas Store. This allows families to plan their own Christmas and to maintain the self-respect of knowing that they contributed to their Christmas. Without the Christmas Store of Cleveland County, these families would not have food, toys, or other gifts for Christmas.
Who is allowed to shop at the Christmas Store of Cleveland County?
In October and November applications are taken by volunteers. Families with a total income of 133% of federal poverty guidelines are eligible to shop if they provide two hours of work to help set up the store. Exceptions to the income guidelines may be made for temporarily needy families in the case of fire, tornado or other crises. Referrals are often made by churches, DHS and individuals.
Where did the idea come from?
The Christmas Store was a whole new kind of community Christmas program…..born in Cleveland County. It came out of the hearts and minds of people who saw the shortcomings of many of the traditional methods of Christmas giving and they decided to do something about it. This program was started in 1970 by Action, Inc., a non-profit organization funded both federally and locally to bring about more effective community social programs. Action, Inc. turned over the coordination of the Christmas Store to a board of community volunteers. The program is totally locally funded.
How is the Christmas Store Coordinated?
The volunteer Board coordinates the activities of area schools, OU, churches, service groups, merchants and individuals of Cleveland County. It joins all of these groups and individuals into one powerful community effort to give more help to larger numbers of people at Christmas. The appeal for donations of money, food, gifts and time has been answered from all segments and all income levels.