Tamara Browning: ‘One Stop Christmas Shop’ new collaborative to help families
By Tamara Browning
The State Journal-Register
Posted Nov 15, 2019 at 9:40 PM
A collaborative effort of area organizations to assist needy families in Sangamon County during the holidays has been established.
The ONE STOP CHRISTMAS SHOP event will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at Lanphier High School, 1300 N. 11th St.
Inner City Mission, SIU Medicine, Familia Dental, Abundant Faith Supportive Services, Midwest Mission Distribution Center, Toys for Tots, District 186, Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery, The Salvation Army and the city of Springfield will participate in helping needy families.
Participating families will receive about two gifts per child, toiletry items, food toward a holiday meal, hats, gloves and coats.
Families must register for the event by Monday, Dec. 2. As of Thursday, 320 families had registered. It’s expected that some 600 families will be helped through One Stop Christmas Shop.
DONNA LOMELINO, director of outreach at Inner City Mission, said that the event will help “fill in the gaps.”
“I love that. Last year, it was heartbreaking in some ways,” Lomelino said.
“I’m super excited about all the families that we’re going to help.”
Several neighborhoods have conducted similar events for residents, Lomelino said.
“What we recognized last year was there were a lot of people getting excluded just because they were serving their people, and it’s not anything negative on anybody. We are all doing a good thing,” Lomelino said. “It’s just that we’re trying to help all the families the best that we can, especially the ones with children. That’s what we’re trying to do is help all of them.”
The Salvation Army is spearheading the event under its newly appointed captain, JEFF EDDY.
One Stop Christmas Shop is similar to the project Eddy started in Mattoon called One Stop Community Christmas.
“The whole idea is to get everybody involved that we can possibly get involved,” said Eddy, who’s been at The Salvation Army in Springfield about one year.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing what it looks like next year because once it starts to catch on, I think it will be like wildfire. That’s kind of what happened in Mattoon,” he said. “There’s probably 60 or 70 agencies involved there, and they serve 1,800 people. It’s huge for a small town. My thought is, if they can do that there, like what can we do in Springfield? We’re 10 times the size of that area.”
One Stop Christmas Shop brings dignity to families, Eddy said.
“We have this opportunity where the parents get to go in and pick out what it is they want for their children. They go through with a personal shopper. They may not be paying for the toy, but they’re still choosing the toy,” Eddy said.
One Stop Christmas Shop needs partners to help with food. For more information, call The Salvation Army at 525-2196. Donated toys for the project are supplied by Toys for Tots and The Salvation Army angel trees (located at several local businesses such as Walmart).
“We get the names on those angel trees from the parents that sign up. That’s where the requests for toys come from,” Eddy said.
In addition, The Salvation Army will host its 65th Senior Dinner, with doors opening at 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 2. It’s a free event for seniors that will take place at the Crowne Plaza, 3000 S. Dirksen Parkway. Seniors can make reservations by calling 525-2196.
Contact Tamara Browning: email@example.com, 788-1534, twitter.com/tambrowningSJR.
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Sign-up opportunities for the One Stop Christmas Shop are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, at Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery, 1011 N. Seventh St. (phone 525-6800); from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, at Springfield Housing Authority’s Brandon Court apartment complex/Green Building (phone Inner City Mission at 525-3940); from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, at Abundant Faith, 2641 E. Cook St. (527-1006); from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27, at Brandon Court/Green Building; and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2, at Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery.
People should bring to the sign-ups picture identification for adults, state medical card or birth certificate (for everyone under 18), Social Security card, proof of income such as wages, SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).