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Travis Strong (left), seasonal ministries coordinator and Dan Dickey, family shelter administrator, checked over their list a couple years ago.

City Union Mission needs help with Christmas store effort

City Union Mission is preparing their big Christmas outreach program. The ministry’s Christmas Store will open on Monday, November 26, at 9 a.m. for shelter guests, residents of their programs and income-qualified families from throughout Kansas City to “shop” for presents at no cost.

Already 30 families are scheduled to shop on opening day, and the Mission anticipates 150 families will visit before the end of the first week.

The Mission encourages individuals, groups, churches and businesses to begin shopping now to help stock the Christmas Store with inventory before November 16, though they will continue to accept gift donations through Dec 20.

Families will be able to shop for brand-new items: two gifts for each adult/teen, three gifts for each child, plus a household gift that would bless the entire family.

“We’ll see as much as $7,000 worth of gifts selected each day, so donations at a $20 to $30 level – of clothing, toys, small household appliances and more – will be a huge blessing,” says Executive Director Dan Doty.

In all, the Mission expects to provide gifts for more than 700 families in need throughout the holiday season.

Families qualify to shop in the store through an interview at the Mission’s Community Assistance offices, open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons in November, and Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in December. Beyond qualifying families to shop, these interviews provide Mission volunteers the opportunity to encourage, pray for and share God’s Word with the families they meet.

“At the Mission, we truly believe ‘it’s more blessed to give than receive,’ and at the holidays, this is especially true as the generosity of our community enables us to reach out to struggling families to convey the good news of Christ’s birth and to make their Christmas wishes come true,” Doty said. “Buying gifts isn’t often an option when you’ve got to buy food to feed your family. We need our community’s help to ensure we have enough gifts to make Christmas special for all those in need.”

The Christmas Store is a central part of the organization’s annual Mission Christmas program, which last year provided more than 11,966 gifts to thousands of income-qualified families and individuals through the Christmas Store, plus gifts to children in the Mission’s Vanderberg Youth Center, the men, women and families in their emergency shelters, residents of local nursing homes and inmates in Jackson County jails.

A complete list of Christmas Store needs can be found online at MissionChristmas.org.

Donations can be delivered to the Christmas Store, 1700 E. 8th Street in Kansas City, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m, and at the Mission’s Family Center, 1310 Wabash in Kansas City, after 4 p.m. daily and anytime on weekends.

The Mission also welcomes financial contributions, and invites volunteers to help with qualifying interviews, assisting shoppers, wrapping gifts and stocking shelves with donations. For more information on City Union Mission and how to get involved, visit cityunionmission.org.