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First Presbyterian Church offers a toy store during the pre-Christmas season

By Josiah Brown

In their first Community Toy Store, First Presbyterian Church offered families an opportunity to purchase toys at 80 percent off rather than giving toys away free as many Christmas gift ministries do.

1st Presbyterian Church Christmas Toy Store
Shoppers at the First Presbyterian Church pre-Christmas Toy Store

Some members of families who shopped at the store had tears in their eyes as they were able to buy an armful of toys for $11.

“People appreciated the chance to feel like they are providing for their family with their hard earned money,” said Brad Hauge, one of the organizers.

He explained that the church wanted the toy store, which was open Dec. 10, as “an affordable opportunity for people to provide gifts their family in a way that allows them to maintain their pride and dignity.”

Members of First Presbyterian and the community donated more than $5,000 worth of toys for the event.

Along with that, 75 volunteers from the congregation, ranging from elementary students to senior citizens, put on the toy store.  They helped set up and tear down the store; served as cashiers, personal shoppers and gift wrappers, and provided child care and transportation.

“Many people didn’t think families would show up because there are many oppurtunities to receive free gifts,” Brad said.

Of the 80 families invited 50 showed up, purchasing all but a handful of the toys.

Invitations went to families served by the church’s mission partners, such as the Liberty Park Chid Development Center, Mission Community Outreach and Spokane Young Lives.

Some families were also invited from Grant, Roosevelt and Holmes elementary schools.

The $1,000 raised from the toy sales is being donated back to the partner agencies and schools.  The left over toys were donated to Mission Community Outreach’s toy drive.

Brad thinks “there is a place for handouts and there are absolutely people who need that, but the more we try to be the church and help people out, we want to make sure we are truly helping and not hurting.”

For Brad, the Christmas store was “a beautiful picture of the kingdom” with “people of all ages coming together and helping give others diginity.”

For information, call 747-1058 ext. 650, or email Brad.