About 1,500 children will benefit from a pop-up free Christmas store this holiday season. The Shop of Wonders store opened its seventh year on Nov. 21 at 1602 3rd Ave S and helps families who may have a hard time getting gifts.
“The shop of wonders program is an experiential program where families come in, they get to shop for free for their families for Christmas. It’s in partnership with Christmas Hope and we have six other local organizations that we work with and share a database as we serve our local families,” says MyCityCare director Jennifer Tribble. “We are early on in the campaign. We have been very fortunate that there have been some generous donations early on, but we are definitely going to need donations heading into December.”
Tribble says there are already 400 families registered and she expects more to register throughout December. “We are definitely seeing an increased demand. We have the same amount of families registered as we did towards the end of December last year.”
Families make an appointment and get to go through the shop with a volunteer and pick out stocking stuffers, as well as larger gifts. The shop also offers free gift wrapping and hot chocolate to families during their visits. Tribble says she expects to help 84 kids on the first day of operation and about 400 by the end of the week.
Anyone who would like to donate can drop toys off at the shop or can make donations online.
“Now more than ever, we are seeing a lot more people use the services that are within our community — the food banks and things like this. It’s changed so much and the population is, with the rising costs and inflation, just the cost of food and transportation, etcetera — it’s something else that is there to help those in need,” said Mayor Blaine Hyggen, who cut the ribbon for an official opening for the shop on Nov. 21.