Our focus is on families with children and senior and/or disabled adults who live at or below 150% of the Federal poverty level. We enable parents and guardians to "give Christmas" to their children or family members by affording them the opportunity to shop for items specifically for each person.
The Community Christmas Store (CCS) starts with an empty, donated building and transforms it into a mini-department store each year, complete with Christmas decorations and a festive atmosphere. CCS has operated for two days in early December each year since its inception in 1993. We has grown from serving 177 families the first year to serving an average of 550 famiies (including an average of 785 children, ages infant to 18 years) in recent years. Eligible families must be residents of the City of Salem, Roanoke County (incuding Town of Vinton), or Craig County.
The Community Christmas Store is operated solely by volunteers--there is no paid staff. Approximately 85% of all funds received are given out to our recipient families in the form of goods, with each child receiving a new outfit of clothing, new toys, and the child's family receiving a new household item (e.g., linens, a small appliance, etc.), food items, and an overly-full food box. There is a year-round core of volunteers, made up of department chairs and interested parties, who meet regularly to oversee and carry out fundraising efforts, school and church contacts, complete grant applications, eligibility processes, publicity, and other administrative tasks. In addition, there is an 11-member Board of Directors who meets and makes strategic decisions according to our by-laws. Over 500 members of the community are involved in the set-up and operation of the Community Christmas Store each year. Volunteer opportunities are available who want to work year-round, for those who want to work intermittently during fundraising activities, and for those who want to work only a few hours each year during store set-up and operation.
Volunteers shop for new goods, assemble shelving, stock, and decorate the store. They review applications from potential shoppers, purchasing specifically for the needs, sizes, and ages of eligible participants, with enough extra inventory to allow the shoppers a selection of items.
Families are given a date and time to shop at that year's store location (we have no permanent "home"). When they arrive, they are greeted by volunteers who serve as a host and who assists them in selecting each child or family member's items. No money ever changes hands--the Community Christmas Store is completely free of charge to our clients.
We have no endowment and no government funding--CCS is 100% reliant on the generosity of our community as well grants and other fundraising activities. Please help us "give Christmas" to a needy child or familiy this year.
Updates and Donors' Comments