This is a pic of the line that formed outside of Bardwell Elementary School as parents from that community waited to go shopping at one of two Gift Marts that COMMUNITY sponsored on Saturday. This was our 6th Gift Mart in the East Aurora community and our first in East Joliet; both led by our non-profit Community 4:12. One of the values we have at COMMUNITY is reproduction; and I love that we are reproducing this Gift Mart to other communities! We set a goal of 7500 toys which was significantly more than we had ever collected before. We collected 9500 toys and 1,000 volunteers served approximately 3500 people from the community who shopped at the Gift Mart. It was awesome!
I think the smartest part of how we do the Gift Mart is that we sell the donated toys for $2.00/toy. This allows parents to shop with dignity for their children. It is truly a “hand-up” and not a “hand-out”. Then we take the money that we make from selling these toys and give it to the school that hosts the Gift Mart. This year we raised almost $15,000 dollars that we gave two the two public schools that hosted this Gift Mart.
I am so proud of Kirsten Strand and our whole Community 4:12 team that is leading the charge for all of COMMUNITY in transforming under-resourced communities. I am grateful to be a part of a church that is so generous and passionate about making a difference in the lives of our neighbors.