The GRACE Christmas Cottage has been giving and growing since 2001 — in size, volume and people served. What began as an organized effort to distribute toys to local children has developed into a well-orchestrated program of providing holiday gifts to entire families. Now in its 11th year, the Christmas Cottage is open December 7-20 at 2845 Exchange Blvd, suite 300, in Southlake. Supporters are asked to bring new and unwrapped toys and gifts for children and teens; small appliances and gift cards for parents; wrapping paper, tape and bows; and batteries beginning Monday, November 26, between 10:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
What was a huge empty warehouse has been transformed into what resembles Santa’s toy shop with festive décor, trees, wreaths and lights. Donated toys and gifts are organized by sex and age groups to aid shoppers. To participate, families must be qualified by GRACE and make an appointment to visit the Christmas Cottage.
According to Shonda Schaeffer, executive director for Grapevine Relief and Community Exchange (GRACE), the Christmas Cottage is designed to be a one-stop shop for families facing financial challenges, noting the store-like setting allows the parents to have a sense of dignity and pride as they select the perfect gifts for each child.
“We’re thrilled with our volunteer and donor support for the Christmas Cottage,” said Schaefer. “However, we are concerned because we are reaching about 400 more kids than last year. We’re looking to the community to step in and help with more donations.”
GRACE is expecting the Christmas Cottage to provide a happy holiday to more than 600 families with more than 1,600 children who live in the Grapevine, Colleyville and Southlake area. “We are asking even more this year from our community to help fill this need,” Schaefer continued.
To assist those wishing to make donations, GRACE has compiled a list of gift ideas for children, teenagers, and adults/families that includes items in all price ranges.
Just as important as toys are the volunteers who organize, decorate, stock, clean up and assist customers during the 14-day run. Spanish-speaking volunteers are very important to make sure all families’ needs are met. Anyone wishing to work at the Christmas Cottage should contact Lori Stevens at 817-488-2181 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Christmas experience is not complete without cookies which is why the Christmas Cottage needs six dozen cookies a day to hand out to visitors. If you would like to donate baked cookies, please contact Lori Stevens at 817-488-2181 or email@example.com
For more information about the GRACE Christmas Cottage, go to www.gracegrapevine.orgor call 817-488-7009.