Gifts from the Heart Delivers Toys and Joys at Christmas
Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the Brevard community, the Coordinating Committee of Gifts from the Heart Christmas Shop (GFTH) is pleased to report that its innovative alternative Christmas program can celebrate a hugely successful third year of operation. Caring, big-hearted individuals, and compassionate, concerned churches, clubs, and businesses caught the dignity-affirming vision of GFTH Christmas Shop and made possible toys under the Christmas tree for 304 children. They also provided immeasurable joy for the children's parents and guardians who were able to purchase the gifts at prices affordable to parents of very modest means. Eight area nonprofit organizations – Neighbor Up Brevard (formerly Brevard Neighborhood Development Coalition), Club Esteem, Love INC, Family Promise of Brevard, Community of Hope, Eckerd Connects, Brevard Rescue Mission, and Habitat for Humanity of Brevard - teamed together to offer parents in their respective programs this alternative to Christmas charity handouts.
The 304 children represented over 115 families, and the number of children who benefited represents an increase of 29.4% over last year's GFTH Christmas Shop. Parents were able to purchase up to three gifts per child, and also able to select one free book per child. The generosity of the Brevard community made possible a wide array of toys for all ages, including over 30 new bicycles of all sizes. Toys were sold at the Shop at prices dramatically less than retail, purposely marked down to be affordable. For example, a toy with a retail value of $50 or more was priced at $15. As a number of the partner organizations work with homeless families or other families struggling economically, an option was available to earn “Shop Dollars” in advance of shop opening day by volunteering with one of the partner organizations, or at Love INC’s Village Thrift store, the host location of the Shop. Several families took advantage of this opportunity.
The partner organizations of Gifts from the Heart Christmas Shop are deeply appreciative of the many, many people who made this year's program a reality. From book, toy, and Christmas gift wrap drives, the hosting of GFTH "Giving Trees," donations of cash and in-kind services and materials, volunteering, to simply helping promote the shop in the community, each single effort combined to create a joyful, positive, and affordable experience for the shopping parents and guardians.
For more information on Gifts from the Heart Christmas Shop, please check out the website at www.giftsfromtheheartshop.org
The Rev. Joy Willard-Williford Co-Chair, Gifts from the Heart Christmas Shop & Project Manager/Urban Missioner at Neighbor Up Brevard