Home Depot – Johnson County Christmas Bureau goals to assist these in want
The pandemic made quite a lot of issues completely different in 2020, however not the generosity individuals present to at least one one other.
The Johnson County Christmas Bureau has maneuvered by a yr like no different, so it is ready to do what it does greatest: Assist these in want.
The Christmas Bureau hosts one of many space’s largest vacation applications. Final yr greater than 4,700 low-income households chosen presents and requirements without charge. This yr, the group’s board, volunteers and employees developed a novel plan working out of the previous, and now vacant, Toys “R” Us retailer in Overland Park.
“Changes were made simply because of all of the clients and their safety,” mentioned Barbara Kopack Hill, president-elect of the Christmas Bureau’s board of administrators and the group’s volunteer chair. “Rather than canceling, we did what we could do safely for our clients.”
Hill mentioned in previous years there can be 95 volunteers working for every shift the bureau was open to shoppers. This yr, 18 volunteers will work every of the 4 each day shifts for 10 days starting Dec. 4.
“We do have the same shifts, but a very skeleton crew,” Hill mentioned. “The goal is to try and ensure we don’t have too many people in the shop at any given time.”
Purchasers received’t be truly coming into the constructing like in years previous. Appointments need to be made to select up gadgets. There can be eight households scheduled each 15 minutes. And this yr shoppers will choose gadgets by their functions. One other change due to the pandemic is there are 4 merchandise departments this yr as an alternative of the same old 10.
“What we are providing was the most vital,” Hill mentioned.
These departments are meals, private care merchandise (together with laundry detergent and cleaning soap), kids’s coats and kids’s toys. The kids’s coats and toys can be found for ages zero to 12 years previous.
Coats for youngsters had been particularly vital.
“The children outgrow them every year,” Hill mentioned.
Within the software, there’s a collection of questions to assist pinpoint requests. Purchasers are requested the dimensions and shade of coats, in addition to what sort of toys are needed, comparable to motion figures, sports activities gadgets, dolls and artwork kits.
‘That is in order that they have an opportunity to pick out,” Hill mentioned. “We are doing our best.”
“It’s sad the clients can’t come in and pick out the exact thing they want. We want people to have the dignity of shopping for themselves.”
Meals packages can be decided by household measurement. Packages can have the identical gadgets, until there’s a meals allergy. Objects embrace both a turkey or rooster, canned and packaged meals, and contemporary produce.
The Christmas Bureau couldn’t maintain its common meals drives in the neighborhood due to the pandemic.
“It takes a lot of volunteers to sort and check the food donations,” Hill mentioned. “We simply couldn’t have the volunteers needed in a safe manner.”
Monetary donations helped buy meals in bulk, and the Christmas Bureau additionally relied on Harvesters.
And, as in years previous, Hill mentioned the Christmas Bureau can have its particular fifth division: Objects for Medicaid-eligible residents in assisted residing facilities. Hill mentioned this effort appears to be “the unsung hero” of the Christmas Bureau.
Greater than 600 people are anticipated to obtain gadgets comparable to pajamas, lotion and lap blankets made by Christmas Bureau volunteers.
What has been nice about this yr is the kindness from the neighborhood, Hill mentioned.
“Donations have been amazing,” she mentioned.
For instance, Edward Jones not too long ago donated 500 coats collected by a contest between the agency’s places of work.
Hill mentioned usually giving to the Christmas Bureau comes from expertise. Many volunteers are sometimes former shoppers of the bureau, she mentioned.
The Christmas Bureau this yr obtained a $2,500 grant from Home Depot by a novel connection. The grant software was written by an worker who knew a coworker assisted by the bureau final yr.
That grant goes towards a lot wanted provides like flashlights, ice soften, tables and packing tape. Hill mentioned as a result of the precedence is the shoppers, the bureau usually goes with out this stuff.
As well as, Home Depot shops in Olathe and Shawnee Mission each introduced $1,000 reward playing cards to the bureau.
“It is all because of people being touched by someone in need,” Hill mentioned.