YWCA donors unite to provide holiday cheer in pandemic year!

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YWCA donors unite to provide holiday cheer in pandemic year!

Categories: Events

The generosity of our community supporters continued right through the holidays this year. Support has never been stronger for our signature Holiday Shop, which distributes holiday gifts to families in need every December. As Holiday Shop approached, YWCA staff had to be very flexible in organizing the annual event.

Holiday Gift Shop
Holiday Gift Shop

Holiday Shop is a major undertaking that requires months of planning, soliciting gifts, and recruiting and training volunteers. In past years, many generous individuals and businesses in the community have dropped off gifts at the Community Office, which were then organized by staff and volunteers into a gift shop. Families that have participated in YWCA Clark County programs were invited to the Community Office to select gifts for their family members.

But due to COVID, that format had to be abandoned. Instead, donors were asked to make online holiday gift selections from registries, or to request gift pickups. Many also dropped off gifts at the Community Office parking lot, where staff met them. And all the work had to be done without the usual volunteer corps, to ensure everyone’s good health.

The plan worked beautifully, says Nikolas Tidwell, philanthropy manager. “It was a lot of work, a lot of organizing and coordinating. But we were able to procure gifts for all of our program participant’s families who signed up to receive gifts this year.”

Media partners helped spread the call for holiday gifts

The Holiday Shop team sends a shout-out to KGW-TV’s Great Toy Drive, KPTV- TV Channel 12 Toy Drive (partnered this year with Portland Fire Bureau’s Toy & Joy Makers), and Toys for Tots, all contributors to Holiday Shop. SafeChoice’s Margo Priebe, who coordinates Holiday Shop, is especially grateful to KPTV for inviting her to do a live segment on holiday giving.

“It was a weird and beautiful holiday shop this year,” she reports.  “Brittini Lasseigne, our wonderful Director of Philanthropy, created a wish list format and we sent that to our program participants to fill out and send back to us. We were able to fill the wish list bags with items that were very specifically requested, so we were able to get them things they would love! We included a blanket for every family, a family gift, parent gifts, and stuffed animals for everyone in the family!”
People picked up their gifts at the Community Office to reduce contact. Despite the challenges, Holiday Shop delivered gifts, and gift cards, to hundreds of families.

It has been a difficult year for us all in Clark County. But our donors rallied around YWCA to ensure that those who need our programs not only received those services, but enjoyed a bit of extra cheer for the holidays. Thanks to everyone who gave–of their time, their dollars, their voices. Here’s to a happier, healthier 2021!