Application deadline approaching for the Montgomery County Christmas Store

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 5:47 PM EST
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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - A unique department store in Christiansburg is the closest thing to Santa’s workshop you’ll find in the region.

Instead of elves, volunteers at the Montgomery County Christmas Store are the ones packaging gifts

“Normally our mission is to provide Christmas to our eligible shoppers with choice and dignity. They come in, they go to each department, they pick out what their family members need,” explained Terri Lynn Howard, the store’s public relations coordinator. “The sizes, the colors, the style, and it’s such a joyous occasion to see how happy it makes them. We can’t do that because of COVID.”

The store serves families in need with children, seniors, or disabled adults in Montgomery County, including homeless shelters and domestic violence survivors.

Inside are departments for clothes, toys, household goods, personal hygiene items, and food.

Due to the pandemic, they’re operating as a no-contact drive-thru again this year, and families must fill out an online application and wish list by November 29th.

“We’ll ask them to fill this out, we give them an appointment, this year Christmas week is December 6th through 11th all day long,” says Howard. “Normally they’d reach in and pick the color and size, this year they have to specify on the wish list. The more specific they are on the wish list, the better our volunteers can do to give them what they want.”

Volunteers then check the lists, twice, making sure there’s something under the tree for everyone on Christmas Day.

Volunteers like Nancy Aden have been working with the Christmas Store for more than 25 years. All of the items are new and are either donated or shopped for by folks like Nancy.

“It’s the most fun thing in the whole world to buy clothes for kids,” said Aden.

“We’ve had people cry. One woman two years ago wanted Mickey Mouse. So I went back and found a pair and a matching robe, and she started to cry, she said, ‘You’ve just made my son’s Christmas,’” Aden explained. “And that was fulfilling.”

The store has a $295,000 fundraising goal every year, divided into budgets by department, serving 1,250 children last year.

Nine hundred households have already applied and received appointments for this year.

The largest budget is given to the toy department, shopping with $50,000 to make Christmas magical for the kids.

“People not working as much, issues with getting supplies, the need is great,” added Howard. “Many people would not have a Christmas without the Christmas store.”

To learn more information about eligibility, and to apply, head to their website or Facebook page.

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