GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A holiday tradition to help those in need is going on this year despite the coronavirus pandemic.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the Degage Ministries Christmas Store inside LaGrave Christian Reformed Church will be a one-stop shop for many Grand Rapids families who know the joy of the season is in the giving.
“It is really wonderful for people who don’t have much. It really helps people a lot and it’s something wonderful,” shopper Mary Jane Lopez said.
The Degage Ministries Christmas Store has been the source of many Christmas morning smiles for nearly a decade.
“As you can see it’s a nice large room, everyone can social distance, everybody can still have masks on but still comfortably shop for very cost-effective Christmas gifts for friends and family,” event manager Kristin Aidif said.
From bedding to body lotion, nothing will cost shoppers more than $5.
“You can’t usually go out and buy a nice, heavy winter coat for $5. Anywhere else they could be $30, $40, $50,” Lopez said.
Lopez was picking out some items for family members. She was thankful, saying the low prices will allow her to provide gifts for her loved ones.
“Years ago, when I worked, I was able to always buy for them and then that one year, you couldn’t do that and I had to say to my grandchildren, ‘I have nothing for you this year,'” Lopez said, saying they wondered, “‘But why, Grandma? You always have in the past.'”
“A Christmas when you can’t give doesn’t feel very good. A Christmas that’s all about getting doesn’t allow us to feel the spirit of the season, and that’s why I think today is beautiful,” Aidif said.
All of the new items at the store have been donated. Anyone who lives in the 49503 zip code can shop. Shoppers go home with wrapping paper and gift tags. The goal: give people a happy holiday to end 2020 and some hope that 2021 will be better.
“We don’t want COVID to rain on all of our parades. There’s so many things we had to give up or not be able to do this year and this wasn’t going to be one of them,” Aidif said.
If you live in the 49503 zip code and would like to the shop, the store will be open through Thursday. You need to register with Degage ahead of time, which you can do by calling 616.454.1661, ext. 248, or emailing email@example.com.