Hundreds help during holidays at CROSS Holiday Toy Shop

Hundreds of children living in the communities of Maple Grove, Rogers, Osseo, Dayton, Champlin and Corcoran received toys during the 2014 holiday season from the CROSS Holiday Toy Shop.

Donated toys were organized and ready to be picked up by families during the 2014 CROSS Holiday Toy Shop at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Maple Grove.
Donated toys were organized and ready to be picked up by families during the 2014 CROSS Holiday Toy Shop at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Maple Grove.

Families in need during the holiday season signed up to visit the CROSS Holiday Toy Shop Dec. 20 at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Maple Grove. Nearly 400 local families had the option to choose multiple gifts for their children (more than 900 children) at the 2014 Holiday Toy Shop.

Without the kindness of donations, the annual Holiday Toy Shop opportunity for families in need wouldn’t be possible. Several businesses throughout the community hosted food and toy drives during December, a wooden toy maker donated hundreds of handmade toys and many churches and businesses generously provided toys and addressed the perpetual shortage of gifts for teens by donating gift cards allowing CROSS to have a gift card for every child 12 years and older — an amazing bonus present for “those very hard to shop for” teens. Over the two-day period in December, the generous hospitality of Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Maple Grove allowed CROSS to use a meeting room, hallways, and parking lot to host the families and the Holiday Toy Shop.

Stuffed animals were among the many items available for families in need to choose from during the 2014 CROSS Holiday Toy Shop at Lord of Life Lutheran Church.
Stuffed animals were among the many items available for families in need to choose from during the 2014 CROSS Holiday Toy Shop at Lord of Life Lutheran Church.

“People were so appreciative to have a way to get gifts for their kids through our toy shop, stated how tight things were, and how CROSS made Christmas possible for their family,” CROSS Program Manager Daisy Barton said.

Volunteers were instrumental in organizing and setting up the CROSS Holiday Toy Shop as well helping families.

“The Holiday Toy Shop could not happen without the volunteers. For the month leading up to the event, they help us prepare by inventorying and sorting toys. They helped us setup and take down a huge toy shop in two days’ time, a tremendously time-sensitive task which require lots of helping hands,” CROSS Volunteer Coordinator Stephanie Lehman said. “But most importantly, they are Santa’s helpers assisting the families shop for the event. The shopping process can be a bit overwhelming, especially for families already under extra stress and discouragement during the holidays, a time when depression and anxiety is on the rise even for people with the financial means. Having someone to help guide, listen, help carry bags, and give a ‘Merry Christmas’ can help the families relax and enjoy the process.”

Generously donated hats, mittens, scarves, and gloves were provided for families at the CROSS Holiday Toy Shop in December to help children keep warm during the winter months.
Generously donated hats, mittens, scarves, and gloves were provided for families at the CROSS Holiday Toy Shop in December to help children keep warm during the winter months.

CROSS Services provides food, clothing, seasonal children’s programs, Peace of Mind Housing/financial assistance, and Meals on Wheels to families living in the communities of Corcoran, Dayton, Maple Grove, Osseo, Rogers and west Champlin.

The next holiday program available to families in need focuses on the Easter season. For those interested in contributing, CROSS is currently seeking donations of egg coloring kits, bubbles, baskets, stuffed animals, small toys and candy.

Based in Rogers, CROSS has been operating for nearly four decades and serves more than 600 families each month. For more information, contact CROSS at 763-425-1050 or visit the website at www.CROSSservices.org.