The Greatest Gift Shoppe gives parents the gift of giving
Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce, The Get Together - Bay Area, Bay Area First Baptist Church, Toys for Tots, and many small groups and individuals partnered with Lighthouse Christian Ministries (LCM) this holiday season to support our unique gift donation program. LCM’s charitable service goes far beyond gift giving and instead recognizes that the greatest gift we can give someone is the gift of respect, hope and joy.
At the Greatest Gift Shoppe, parents are allowed to “shop” for their children from the many items that are donated and purchased for the shop. LCM started the Greatest Gift Shoppe in 2012 and serves approximately 500 children each year.“Receiving charity can be a humbling experience,” said Erika Steele, Executive Director at LCM. “At the Greatest Gift Shoppe, we want families to feel loved and respected and be served with dignity. Therefore the process is a bit different than a typical Christmas give-away program. We are so blessed by the continued support of our community. It is because of their support that we can serve as many as we do.”
Every family that comes to the Greatest Gift Shoppe can select toys from the Toys for Tots program for free, but they are also given the opportunity to purchase additional toys and gifts at a price that is approximately 20% of the retail price. This gives the mom and dad the same joy that we all experience in gift giving. All proceeds from the gift shop are used to purchase more toys and gifts so more children can be served.
In addition to receiving toys, many of the recipients spend hours volunteering their time in setting up and running the shop. There are several teammates that have been working in the shop since its inception.
“I am always so touched by the good that comes from the dedicated team at Lighthouse,” said Lori Veltri, President of NCS and supporter of LCM. “As a mom of four, I know what the anticipation for Christmas morning is like for a child. Unfortunately, not every child gets to wake up to gifts under the tree. The Greatest Gift Shoppe program is one that really gives two gifts because we are not only helping make sure our children have gifts under the tree, but we are also giving their parents the gift of pride.”