Christmas Store brings joy to all

story by: Kara Adkins

video by: Lauren Louis and Garrett Anderson

The meaning of Christmas is taught in every Christmas book and carol; to give to others and share unconditional love.  Valley Ranch Baptist Church is doing just that.

This year is Valley Ranch Baptists 11th consecutive year to host a Christmas Store to assist families this year struggling to afford the Christmas their children deserve. Valley Ranch Baptist is partnering with Cornerstone Baptist church in South Dallas to create an incredible turn out.

Thirteen hundred children attended the Christmas Store this year and were given an unforgettable Christmas. With 700 volunteers serving, each child receives a large and small toy, underwear, socks, T-shirt and a Christmas stocking full of candy. But the volunteer’s favorite part is sharing the real message of Christmas.

“It’s been a real cool opportunity to see so many people have the opportunity to serve at Christmas,” Missions Pastor of Valley Ranch Baptist Amy Wilkins said. “It’s been neat to see it not only from the perspective of those getting served… but also to see people give back.”

Christmas spirit surrounds the church and it’s a great time for the volunteers at the church to hear some incredible stories from those they serve. Many who come to the Christmas store face many adversities and the Christmas store seems to be a way to give them hope for the holidays.

For shopper Brittani Randel, the Christmas shop means more than many could guess.

“I have six children and my husband just passed away Oct. 30…so it means a whole lot,” Randel said.

The opportunity to receive presents on Christmas is nonexistent to some of these children. They come from underprivileged areas where money is tight and there is a lot of poverty. The Christmas store brings the joy of the holiday season back to the kids and grants them a memorable Christmas morning.

“Many of the children in the south Dallas Fair Park community are single parents or grandparents who are raising multiple sets of grandchildren so they always have the challenge of providing a great Christmas because of their financial limitations,” Pastor of Cornerstone Church Chris Simmons said. “The Christmas store is a way of meeting that particular need in the lives of underprivileged children”.

The most rewarding aspect for many of the volunteers at the Christmas Store is building relationships with the annual shoppers. Many of the shoppers then return to serve at the Christmas store and give back the experience that was given to them.

For every child Christmas morning is magical: the cookies for Santa disappear,  presents under the tree and stockings filled with goodies. Nothing can replace the feeling or amazement on that morning.  That is exactly what is given to the kids at the Christmas store.

“The children have a lifetime of memories of waking up on Christmas morning and being able to open toys and gifts from their parents,” Simmons said.