Blue Oaks Church, CityServe of the Tri-Valley, and Valley Community Church have organized the Holiday Pop-Up Shop, a new project that serves residents of Dublin and Pleasanton who face financial hardship. "Our purpose in this is to restore the joy of giving to parents," notes Lyssia Porter, Partnerships & Communications Director of Blue Oaks Church in Pleasanton.
The Holiday Pop-Up Shop uses a website to bring together shoppers (who are families in need), volunteers, and gift donors to make the 2017 holiday season brighter. To qualify, shoppers must sign up on the project website by November 30 and provide the name of the participating community organization that is sponsoring their participation.
In mid-December registered shoppers will be invited to go to the Holiday Pop-Up Shop in Pleasanton to pick out presents for their family members, wrap the gifts, and then enjoy a cup of cocoa before they head home. The Holiday Pop-Up Shop allows parents who could not otherwise afford it the pleasure of personally choosing holiday gifts for their children.
"Holiday Pop-Up Shop's mission is to join together as a community of neighbors supporting neighbors through difficult seasons of financial hardship over the holidays, a time when for many families it can come down to having to make decisions of paying rent and providing for basic needs or providing gifts for family members," says Porter. "Our goal is to eliminate the need for that choice and promote unity within the community."
Many local residents are supporting the shop through financial donations and volunteering their time. Still, additional help is needed to make this project a success. More than 1,400 residents are registered to receive gifts this season. "We really want people to donate gifts," notes Porter. "That's our biggest need-new unopened, unwrapped gifts."
The entire shop runs on donations, says Porter, from the gifts given to the time involved to the location of the shop itself. Every member of the project team is a volunteer who has donated hours of personal time to create this experience.
"Everyone, no matter their financial means, has something to offer our community, and we're trying to make sure that we communicate that at every opportunity," says Porter. One resident who recently signed up as a shopper, for example, is a Farsi speaker who realized the project could use her translation skills. "The shopper quickly joined our team as a volunteer herself and has been invaluable in reaching out to part of the community that we might otherwise have missed," says Porter.
The value of the Holiday Pop-Up Shop is expected to last long past this holiday season. "We see this shop not only as a way to support one another, but as a unique way to gauge the needs of people in our community by letting them speak for themselves," notes Porter. "Our system is digital, so we have a unique opportunity to collect feedback from shoppers about their experiences living in this area and their awareness of available resources that we can then share with local organizations and agencies."
To register as a shopper, helper, or giver, visit www.toyshop.team.
For more information about Blue Oaks Church, visit www.blueoakschurch.org.
For more information about CityServe of the Tri-Valley, visit www.cityservetrivalley.org.
For more information about Valley Community Church, visit www.valleycommunity.church.