About Renewal's Christmas Store
Started in 2016
Serves families in our community (near Post Road & 42nd St on the Far Eastside of Indianapolis)
Our community consists of mainly Black & Latino families who are living below the poverty line
In 2022, we served 135 families who purchased gifts for 596 kids
What is the Renewal Christmas Store?The Renewal Christmas Store is a way for parents to help their families experience the love of Christ at Christmas. Each gift is selected specifically by the parent, is wrapped by our volunteers, then tagged with handwritten tags by the parent. Gifts include a variety of toys or other age-appropriate gifts, board games, hats, gloves, underwear, and socks.
How do you get gifts for families to “shop” from?The Christmas Store is entirely dependent on donations from others. We need gifts for children of all ages, from infant through high school. You can shop our Amazon Gift List or make a financial contribution.
Why do you charge families to participate?The “store” approach allows us to support families without taking away their dignity by making their Christmas dependent on the charity of others. For $5 per child (with a limit of $25 per family, regardless of the number of children in the family), parents can select 6-8 new gifts for each child. This allows parents to put gifts under the tree that are from them, rather than accepting miscellaneous items from anonymous donors. With some rare exceptions, all of our gifts are brand new and in the box. Our standard for donations is “if it’s a good gift for your kid/grandkid, it’s a good gift for a family at the store too”.
What are some easy ways to give/How can I donate?3 easy ways to give: 1) Purchase your own gift donations and email Kelly Pelsor, firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time to drop them off at the Renewal House 8748 Bel Air Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46226. 2) Shop our Amazon Gift List. 3) Make a financial donation (so we can purchase gifts, gift wrap, tape, etc.)
What is your biggest need?Our biggest need is middle school and high school aged students. Popular items for teenagers include electronics (i.e. ear buds, handheld electronic games; remote control vehicles; small drones); health and beauty items (make-up, nail polish, lotions and perfume for teenage girls; cologne and body wash or body spray for teenage boys); and throw blankets. Other popular items for kids of all ages include puzzles, arts and crafts, brain teaser games, and science projects. We always have a need for more board games!
Do you accept clothing donations?The ONLY clothing items we accept are NEW winter hats, gloves, scarves, underwear, and socks of all sizes (including adult sizes). We do not have the space to accept other clothing.
How can my church or organization get involved?There are lots of ways to get involved. Here are some ideas: ● Serve as a collection point for physical gift donations. Ask your church members or employees to donate new games, toys, etc. DONATIONS MUST BE RECEIVED BY DECEMBER 10, 2023. ● Encourage members or employees to shop our Amazon Gift list or make a financial donation that allows us to purchase gifts and other essential items like gift wrap, boxes, tape, etc. Donations can be made via our website or can be sent to Renewal Neighborhood Ministry, 8748 Bel Air Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46226. ● Volunteer to serve at the Christmas Store. Help a family shop, wrap presents, or serve hot cocoa & cookies. There are lots of opportunities to serve. SIGN UP HERE. For questions, or to let us know your church or company is participating, contact Kelly Pelsor, email@example.com
Have more questions?Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A Hand Up,
Not a Hand Out
Our Christmas Store gives parents the opportunity to purchase gifts for their children at a significantly decreased cost.
The “store” approach allows parents to put gifts under the tree that are from them, rather than accepting miscellaneous items from anonymous donors. This allows us to support families without taking away their dignity by making their Christmas dependent on the charity of others. They choose the gifts their kids would like. Each gift is selected specifically by the parent, is wrapped by our volunteers, then tagged with handwritten tags by the parent.
Families are also given the opportunity to identify needs and prayer requests and even to pray with store volunteers.
We often use information we obtain from the Christmas Store to reach out to families to help address other needs they may have and invite them to attend our worship services.
I got a new backpack
"I got a new backpack," one of the first graders in our after-school program announced proudly. It was the first day back to school after Christmas break and this little girl was telling one of our volunteers about her holiday. I looked and immediately recognized the backpack. It had come from our Christmas Store. It wasn't the backpack itself but her sweet, pure enthusiasm for the simple gift that caught my attention.
My first reaction was to nose in on her joy by telling her that I knew where the backpack came from. Luckily, I caught myself. She doesn't know anything about the Christmas Store. All she knows is that her mom got her a really cool backpack for Christmas and now she was getting a chance to show it off. And that's exactly as it should be.
The Christmas Store is not first about the kids, but really about the parents. Parents who can spend their own hard-earned money buying presents for their kids, presents they pick out themselves, presents they get to put under the tree from themselves. This isn't a bunch of suburbanites providing random one-size-fits-all donations to strangers. This is simply followers of Jesus showing love for others in our community because of the love Christ first showed us. It is a hand up, not a hand out. This is partnership, not pity.
It brought me joy seeing that little girl so enthusiastic about a gift that I knew she had received as a result of the generosity of one of my brothers or sisters. But that joy does not compare to the satisfaction I have knowing the joy this little girl's mommy had when she got to put that gift under the tree and then watch her daughter open it. Praise God for the opportunity to serve those in need and for touching the hearts of so many to make that possible!