Riverside church steps in to help families buy Christmas gifts

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- Christmas can be a hard time for many families who are struggling to pay bills and buy gifts for family.

But thanks to a local church, this Christmas is going to be a joyous one for those in need.

For parents and caregivers struggling financially, gifts such as baby dolls to skateboards, would have been too costly to provide without help.

The Grove Community Church in Riverside is lifting that burden with a new program they are rolling out this year.

"The Christmas store is for those in our community that might be struggling this year," said Adam McIntyre, a pastor at Grove Community Church.

McIntyre is in charge of local outreach. He says the Christmas store came out of wanting to empower parents by giving them a way to shop with dignity.

At $15 per child, parents are able to shop for up to three gifts at a fraction of the cost. They can also volunteer at the store to get the fee waived.

"I really appreciate all of this because, honestly, I probably would not have been able to afford a lot of it," said Brenda Grandos. "It was very helpful that they are actually doing something like this for our community."

Grandos shopped for her 2-year-old daughter with the help of a personal shopper.

Afterwards, she was also able to wrap each gift herself at a gift wrapping station complete with boxes, paper and bows.

"I actually loved it because it is something a little more personal, and I can actually get something that I know she will enjoy and use," Grandos said.

In October, the church began registering families and caregivers, who then filled out a wish list. The list comprised of toys, clothing and gift cards was then purchased online by the church and its members.

"It's a blessing because my kids really didn't have nothing for Christmas," said Brittany Butrick. "So, the church helped out a lot."

With some of the stress lifted, parents and caregivers can focus more on the experience and joy of giving at Christmas to their children.
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