The Christmas Store of Cleveland County is a community project involving hundreds of people who donate their energies and resources to help low-income families help themselves to a better Christmas.
Just before Christmas a store is set up with donated time, money and merchandise. Here, low-income families can shop for food, toys, clothing and other gifts. They choose what their family wants and needs, not what someone else thinks they should have.
They can buy the gifts and food with a fixed quota determined by family size. The individuals pay for these gifts by donating their time setting up the Christmas Store.
This allows families to plan their own Christmas and to maintain the self-respect of knowing that they contributed toward their Christmas. Without the Christmas Store of Cleveland County, these families would not have food, toys or clothing for Christmas.
Late in November, eligibility stations are set up around Cleveland County, where low-income people can make application to shop at the Store.
Federal low-income guidlines are used, with exceptions being made for temporarily needy families as in the case of a fire or other crisis. Referals can be made by churches and individuals.
The location of the store varies from year to year depending on the availability of an empty building. The building is then donated to the store for its use during the preshopping set-up, shopping days and the time necessary for dismantling the Store.
The Christmas Store of Cleveland County is a whole new kind of community Christmas program ...born in Cleveland County. It came out of the hearts and minds of people who saw the shortcomings in many of the traditional methods of Christmas giving and decided to do something about it.
We can be proud that, though this program is local now, the eyes of many people have been focused on it and similar plans are being implemented throughout the country.
The program was started in 1970 by Action, Inc., a non-profit organization funded both federally and locally to bring about more effective community social programs. Action turned over the coordination of the Christmas Store of Cleveland Countyto a board of community volunteers. The program is totally locally funded.
The volunteer Board coordinates the activities of students from area schools, the University of Oklahoma, churches, service groups, civic clubs, employee groups, merchants and individuals of Cleveland County.
It joins all of these groups and individuals many of whom had their own Christmas programs iin the past into one powerful community effort to do a better job of giving more help to more people at Christmas. Their appeal for donations of money, food, gifts and time has been answered from all segments and all income levels.
December brings an opportunity for you to see the results of your donations of time, money, energy and used items. Grand Opening is an afternoon when the community can browse through the Store seeing areas devoted to food and new toys bought with cash donations and an even larger area filled with donated used toys, clothing and household items.
A very special part of the Store is the Children's Store. Absolutely Children Only a place where one child, between three and fifteen, from each family, can select a present for his or her parents.
We hope you will join us in helping others help themselves to a better Christmas. You may want to work through a group in which you're active...or as an individual...or by making the Christmas Store a family project for this Christmas.
However you choose to go about it, you can make this a better Christmas for you by helping make it a better Christmas for others.
That's why we say The Christmas Store is something nice you do for yourself.
If you or your organization is a supporter of the Christmas Store of Cleveland County, and you'd like to link to this page, feel free to do so.
You may also click here to go to our Store graphics page where you can find a selection of Store logos for your website.
Would you like to volunteer some time?
The Christmas Store needs volunteers to help stock the shelves and prepare the store for the clients who will be shopping. Work day shifts are 9-11 a.m., and 1-3 p.m.
If you can only do a partial shift that is ok. Client work days are November 10-13, 16-18, 20-21, 30, and December 1-5, 2009. December 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11, 2009 are shopping dates. For specific "eligibility days in Norman, More, Noble and Little Axe, and other details, see the Christmas Store of Cleveland County website at http://christmas-store.org/.
The Store is located in Norman at 641 E. Robinson (old County Health Department building).
The Christmas Store may be contacted by phone at (405) 447-5547 (messages only); Mailing address: P.O. Box 256, Norman, OK 73070.
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