A St. John’s-based charity, Thrive is seeking donations of new items to fill the shelves of their annual Christmas Store. The Christmas Store gives youth who are struggling financially an opportunity to purchase affordable gifts for the people they love.

“A lot of people are living well below the poverty line, so day to day living; just paying the bills and trying to keep food on the table and the heat on in an apartment is a big enough challenge,” said Angela Crockwell, Thrive’s Executive Director. “There is really no money for extras for a lot of participants at Thrive …so being able to pick up a gift for an important person in their life is something they really appreciate.”

Crockwell explained the Christmas Store was born out of conversations with youth who described the stress of not being able to afford gifts for their children or parents. At the Christmas Store, Thrive sells donated items at a low cost to their participants, making it possible for the youth they service to choose something special for family members or friends.

“We thought why don’t we create a store where we receive donations so that we’re able to sell gifts for a minimal cost. Then young people can come in and shop using their own money and they get to have the experience of buying their own gifts for the people they care about,” Crockewell said.

All the money that comes through the Christmas Store is funnelled back into Thrive and used to buy supplies like food, warm clothes, and emergency supplies for the organization’s year-round youth outreach programs.

The organization has been running the Christmas Store for more than four years now and Crockwell says it’s become something that participants get excited about each year as December approaches.

“The Christmas Store is a regular thing now, someone was in this morning and said, ‘when does the Christmas store open?’” Crockwell said. “We’ve been doing it long enough that participants know it’s coming and they look forward to it because it might be the only Christmas shopping they plan on doing.”

Thrive relies on donations from the community to make the Christmas Store happen each year. Crockwell says gifts for small children  are always popular selections at the Christmas Store but the organization is also hoping to receive gifts for adults.

“Essentially we’re looking for donations of things you would normally see under any Christmas tree on Christmas morning,” Crockwell said. “Household items and décor, children’s toys and clothing, games, books, Christmas decorations, makeup, jewelry, men’s and women’s clothing, and personal care items.”

Thrive will be accepting donations of new items for the Christmas Store at 108 LeMarchant Road between 9:00am – 4:30pm until December 8th. This will give them time to set up for the store’s eagerly awaited opening on December 11th.