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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 opens Christmas store for needy

The City Union Mission Christmas Store, where thousands of homeless, near-homeless and at-risk men and women can “shop” for their families at no cost, is open for low-income shoppers this week.

The Mission had 30 families shopping on opening day Nov. 26 and expects over 700 families shopping throughout the season. In order to make the store run smoothly, the Mission is calling for volunteers to help.

Income-qualified families will be able to shop from brand-new items in the store for each of their household members: 2 gifts for each adult and teen, 3 gifts for each child, plus a household gift that would bless the whole family. The Mission will see as much as $7,000 a day worth of gifts get selected by families, so donations on every level are important, welcomed and appreciated. Volunteers are needed to work with shoppers, wrap gifts, handle donations, manage the warehouse storage, and help clean up.

“Our Christmas Store requires a lot of work and dedication on behalf of everybody involved,” Doty said. “We are grateful for all of the individuals, businesses, churches and groups who have already donated gifts and volunteered to help, but we know we’ll need a steady supply of gift donations and volunteers to keep our shelves filled and everything running smoothly.”

Although the Mission is already distributing gifts through the store, Doty said donations of certain items are still needed: small household appliances including crock pots and toaster ovens; bath and body sets for women; tool sets for men; movie-themed toys for girls; pro-sports clothing for boys; and diapers and blankets for babies. A complete list of gift items needed can be found at MissionChristmas.org. 

The store is located at the Warehouse at 1700 E. 8th Street. Shopping is done after qualifying
and only with an appointment. Qualifying takes place through our Community Assistance offices on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons in November, then Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., in December.

Doty adds that items not donated must be purchased by the Mission. “It costs about $7,000 a day to maintain our inventory, so financial donations to help offset this expense are also deeply appreciated,” he explained.  Financial gifts can be made online at MissionChristmas.org.

“This is a great way for caring people in the community to play a personal role in ensuring loving but struggling parents can provide gifts and a merry Christmas for their children. Help us encourage others to have a Christ centered Christmas!” Doty said.

The Mission also welcomes financial contributions to support the services they provide for the homeless and near-homeless all year round. Contributions can be made online at cityunionmission.org and will be counted toward the Mission’s CELEBRATE HOPE: Reach Out to K.C.’s Poor and Homeless fundraising drive, which seeks to raise $6 million between October 1, 2018, and January 31, 2019.

For more information on City Union Mission’s full range of programs and services, visit cityunionmission.org.