Our annual Christmas Store is more than a toy drive. It’s an opportunity for parents and grandparents to affordably show love to their kids. At Hope for the Inner City, we love to give. Even more, we love to make giving possible.
How the Christmas Store works
The store enables low-income families to purchase new toys at a reduced price. We rely on generous donors for new and unwrapped toys to stock our shelves each year.
For two weeks during the Holiday season, we transform our chapel into the toy store run by volunteers in the community. Customers who come to the store are directed to fill out an application so we can better understand their situation and other needs. There’s no limit to how often customers can shop at the store, though they’re limited by how many items they can purchase per day.
Volunteers provide free gift wrapping, snacks, and conversation. Like Turkey for Two, the Christmas store is vital to engaging and empowering the community of East Chattanooga.
Why it’s different
We always strive to meet our neighbor’s immediate needs, whether physical, medical, situational, or nutritional. But we don’t stop at mercy ministry and relief.
We offer hope to low-income families in the community by affirming their dignity and role as providers for their children from a Christ-centered perspective. The Christmas store is a store for a reason. Rather than distribute toys for free, we offer hope to disenfranchised families in the community who are empowered by affordable options. We also temporarily employ community members to operate the store and earn money to purchase toys when they couldn’t otherwise.
Rosalyn Willis, Hope’s Social Services Director, remembers a grandmother who came to the Christmas store one year. “She had unexpectedly assumed care of her five grandchildren and just wanted to do something for her babies. It felt so good to give her an affordable option,” Rosalyn said. The very same grandmother came back the next year to volunteer at the store to give back to Hope and the community.
How you can help
You can give four different ways:
- Donate funds for toys
- Purchase new or unwrapped toys
- Volunteer to help run the store. We need volunteers to work Monday through Friday for two weeks in December: the 10th through the 14th, and the 17th through the 21st from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m at Hope for the Inner City.
- Collect toys with your church small group or business. We can provide bins at your church or place of employment where your colleagues can give toys toward the store.
Please email Tory Worley at email@example.com for further details if you’re interested in donating toys or volunteering. Visit our donate page to make a charitable donation, or send a check made out to Hope for the Inner City to 1800 Roanoke Ave. Chattanooga, TN.