1. What is the GRACE Christmas Cottage?
The Christmas Cottage is a program that provides families with Christmas gifts for their family at no cost to them. What makes our program unique is that we allow our clients to make their own selections of gifts for their family. Each family is given a budget based on their family size. They "shop" in the cottage among age appropriate items that are given a dollar value that is approximate to Walmart. This way, they not only get to choose the gifts that they know their children will like, but they are learning to budget and understand the value of what they are being given. It really helps the parents maintain a sense of diginity since they are able to maintain a level of privacy. For a list of toy ideas, click here.
2. How many volunteers does it take to operate the Cottage?
Including the volunteers who decorate the space, those who work while the cottage is open and those who help take everything down and pack up, it takes more than 450 volunteers!
3. Do you still need volunteers?
We do not currently need volunteers for this seasonal program as it has been completed for the 2013 season. Stay tuned for details about the 2014 Christmas Cottage.
4. The minimum age for a volunteer is 16 if they are accompanied by an adult, is there any way for younger kids to get involved?
Absolutely! We encourage families with younger kids to helps us by baking cookies that provide daily to our client families and volunteers.
5. How many people does the Christmas Cottage help?
In 2013, we provided gifts to 710 families (1,634 children).
6. How soon can people begin bringing donations?
We accept donations for Christmas Cottage all year long. If you'd like to donate items specifically for Christmas Cottage, take them to Donation Station (112 N. Scriber in Grapevine) and let the staff know you'd like the items tagged for Christmas.
7. Should gifts be wrapped or unwrapped?
Great question! All donations must be unwrapped, that way we know what the items are and can place them in the age and gender appropriate section. That also reminds me, each family that shops with us is given all of the wrapping paper, tape and bows that they will need to wrap their own gifts, so we also need lots of those things donated as well! Toy ideas can be found here.
8. Are there certain types of gifts that you usually run low on?
Yes, gifts for teens are usually in shortest supply. Great teen gifts are gift cards ($10, $15 & $20 denominations), movie tickets, DVD's and CD's to name a few. We also run low on our family gifts which are things like small appliances, towel sets, dish sets and things like that. Each family gets to select on "family gift".
9. How can local businesses get involved?
We encourage local businesses to host toy drives or we can supply them with bell ornaments that list gift needs. That way, their employees can select an ornament or two and simply purchase the items listed on them. For a list of toy ideas, click here.
The GRACE Christmas Cottage is a wonderful program that is a reflection of this community's spirit of giving! If you would like more information about donations, volunteering or gift bells, please contact GRACE Seasonal Programs Manager Lori Stevens at email@example.com.