Gifted a chance to shop for parents and siblings
For one morning a year, the St. Vincent de Paul Hope Chest thrift store in Scottsdale closes to the public and transforms into “Santa’s Workshop.”
Staff fills the store with toys and gifts for an exclusive annual shopping event for the students of Palomino Primary School, a Title I school where nearly 90 percent of the students are on subsidized meal programs.
On Dec. 17 this year from 8 a.m. to noon, the store filled with students, each provided with a $25 gift card to spend on presents for their family and a toy for themselves. With unbelievable mark downs and many gifts under $10, it was an incredible opportunity not only to shop, but to practice the spirit of giving back to siblings, parents and loved ones.
In its 34th year, the Palomino Christmas Event saw more than 1,100 student shoppers — a beautiful sight after some tough pandemic years. Sagicor Life Insurance Company came through again this year with a $25,000 donation to make the gift card model possible.
As students darted between toy displays and couches overflowing with plushes, two young kids went straight for the household appliances. Dariam and Michelle each picked out a brand new Black & Decker blender for their moms. Dariam knew his mom’s old blender broke and that this would be his chance to replace it.
“I want to spend this money on my parents,” Dariam said. “I don’t have my own money, so this is how I can give to them.”
Michelle’s mom also has a broken blender at the moment.
“She really likes to drink smoothies a lot, and she always spends all her money on me,” Michelle said, “so I want to give to her this time.”
The gifts remained a surprise as parents weren’t allowed back in the workshop area. Instead, volunteers helped students pick the perfect present and wrap it for the family.
And of course, there is always joy to see children come away with a toy or present that lights up their eyes, something special just for them. Many kids went crazy over the Squishmallow plushes, and a few kids even rolled out of the store with a brand-new bike.
“We’re just so grateful to be able to provide this joyous experience for the kids again,” SVdP Director of Retail Operations Mike McClanahan said. “It’s not just about presents, but about instilling the spirit of giving in children and offering the opportunity to all kids to practice that generosity with their family, no matter their background or income.”
There's still time to make Christmas for families.
Help SVdP put presents under the tree and a holiday meal on the table for those struggling to make ends meet this season.
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