Here at Broadway UMC (Bowling Green District), we feel like it’s important that children don’t miss out on the joy of Christmas. When you are a child, there is a magic that’s simply not explainable with words. We feel like every child should get to experience that.
Since 2007, we have partnered with TC Cherry Elementary—a neighborhood school that’s practically in the backyard of our main campus. We try to serve and support the school, its administration, its students, and its staff through things like mentoring programs, funds for field trips, drives for school supplies, tutoring, and catered meals during teacher appreciation week. Since that time, we have also taken care of every family from that school who were unable to provide Christmas gifts for their children.
For the past few years, we have participated in a local program called Angel Tree. When families applied for the program, they were adopted by members from our church, and those members took those families presents for their children. Angel Tree is a great program and through it we have been able to impact a lot of families, but we felt like we needed to change things up. We wanted to create a program that (a) was developmental and (b) provided dignity for the families being served. This year, we are launching something we’re calling “Broadway’s Christmas Store.”
Members from our church have been signing up to purchase shirts, pants, underwear, socks, shoes and coats. (While our primary focus is clothing needs, we are also hoping to provide toys for the children.) The first week of December, they will bring those items to the church to be sorted. The second week of December, we will open the store for parents of TC Cherry Elementary students to come and shop at no cost to them. They’ll have a personal shopper help them find the items they need. They’ll be served coffee and cookies while they look around. They’ll enjoy getting to pick out gifts for their children.
This puts Christmas back in to the hands of the families being served.
Broadway’s Christmas Store is a pilot program. It’s our first year offering this opportunity to the community. We’re hoping it is so successful that we can open it up to even more families in the community next year. We plan on serving between 50 and 60 families this Christmas season.