“We really want to give caregivers the dignity of getting to choose their own gift for their kids,” says Dean, Chief Regional Officer for the Mustard Seed.
This was the 6th annual Family Gift Center, an event put on each during the Christmas season by The Mustard Seed Edmonton that gives caregivers the opportunity, and the autonomy, to purchase Christmas gifts.
“Through the Family Gift Centre, they can choose a gift specifically for their child or the kids in their lives,” says Dean.
Throughout the city of Edmonton, many families live below the poverty line. The aim of the Family Gift Center is to remove the pressure that can come with the holidays and make sure there is something special under the tree for everyone. The Gift Center is filled with items that have been donated to The Mustard Seed or purchased with donations/sponsorship money, and shoppers are able to come by and purchase gifts for a small price.
“Nearly every single shopper was beyond thankful and appreciative for the opportunity to participate. They are able to shop for their children and find gifts that their children will like. The $2 a gift charge allows for their dignity to remain in place as they are the ones purchasing the gift,” says Adrianne, Christmas Coordinator.
“We had many shoppers come up to us after they shopped to let us know the immense difference this opportunity has played in their Christmas story this year. There was laughter, there were tears, there were hugs, many asked to help volunteer next year and give back. It was two days filled with all sorts of emotion and Christmas cheer.
This is such a special opportunity for people to take part in the tradition of Christmas shopping and gift giving, even if they do not have the funds to do so.
Throughout the two days that the Family Gift Centre ran, there was a total of 3300 gifts given out to families, and each child received two gifts to take home.
“Knowing that we were able to help hundreds of families have a merrier Christmas makes all of the hard work worth it,” says Adrianne.
“It is overwhelming to think of the number of families that we were able to assist this year, but at the same time, it's heartbreaking to know that there are that many, and more, who need the help.”
If you would like to help out a family this Christmas it isn’t too late! Check out our social media accounts in each city to find our 12 Days of Giving lists for more ways to make Christmas special for someone in need. You can also head to our Ways to Give page to find ways to donate or volunteer this season.