KidWorks, located in Santa Ana, CA hosted its 9th Annual Christmas Store on December 18, 2010. Many of the neighborhood families cannot afford to buy toys for their children, and the Christmas Store is where parents can shop for children's at just 10-20% of retail value.
I heard buzz around the office about how crazy the store could and would be, but I never took into account all of the families' lives it could touch.
They had donors who would want to donate so much that we were running out of room to store gifts. One family did not have anything planned for Christmas. They had just lost their father to deportation and the mother did not know how she would provide for her kids. KidWorks heard her story and provided food and a Christmas tree and the necessities she needed to bring joy to her children during that tough time.
During the day of the Christmas Store event, I assumed it would be a big riot for the toys but it wasn’t. The families were so appreciative and so nice it felt like they were giving me a gift instead of receiving one. The gift was of joy and the willingness to be humble. It doesn’t matter how much money or gifts you have during Christmas time, it’s about family. The families came in and picked out toys they thought their kids would like, and we had a group of volunteers to wrap the gifts. While the families were waiting, we gave them refreshments and cookies the staff had decorated. The look on the families’ faces when they left the building was priceless. It looked like a weight was lifted off their shoulders to know their child would get a gift from Santa.