Community comes through for Holiday Gift Shop
A chilly winter rain pelted down on a January afternoon in Vancouver, a reminder that summer’s easy warmth was still months away. But Margo Priebe had only to look back to a day in December to chase away the winter blues.
Margo, Legal Advocacy Specialist with YWCA Clark County’s SafeChoice program, wears a second hat as the holiday season rolls around. She is unofficially in charge of YWCA’s annual Holiday Shop, a one-day free shopping extravaganza for YWCA program participants that never fails to exceed her expectations.
“Was this year the best ever? Every year is the best ever for the Holiday Shop!” she says. “Our executive director, Sherri Bennett, always says we are in the business of hope, and on that day, we are in the business of joy.”
The shop did serve a record number of shoppers in 2019, with 469 people coming through the door to select gifts for their loved ones. But the measure of the Holiday Shop’s success isn’t numbers, but smiles.
The shop is months in the planning, as gifts need to be gathered, staff assignments made, and efforts with volunteers coordinated. Local businesses and individuals generously donate items and dollars so that shoppers have gifts large and small to choose from.
Margo gave a special shout out to the Clark County Sheriff’s Department and its Re-entry Team, which spends the day before the shop opens setting up the displays. “And we seriously could NOT do this without all of the gift donations that the Philanthropy Department organized for us this year!”
“The level of cooperation this year was incredible,” she says. “We had new staff doing new things this year, and it became just a super cooperative year for everyone. It feels like the stars aligned.”
And, still basking in the glow of that glorious day, Margo admits she can’t wait to get started on the next one.
“Our work here is hard,” she says. “We do great things for the community, but it can be tough. For six months, planning the Holiday Shop gives my brain something positive to think about, and the opportunity to work with other departments. And then comes the payoff: the best day ever!”