What a thrill it was for the soon-to-be teenager to find out that she could select gifts for her golden birthday that made her feel like she was more grown up, like a curling iron.
The surprise was where she found the gifts — at CROSS Family Services in Rogers, in the toy shop that has recently tripled in size.
Although CROSS’s main focus is helping families and individuals address hunger and housing concerns, CROSS also distributes school supplies, birthday and other special event gifts, clothing assistance, and holiday toys to help low-income and/or financially struggling families during times of the year that traditionally have greater expenses, such as preparing their children for school and celebrating holidays.
“When you see how happy these birthday gifts make people, it makes your day,” said Daisy Barton, CROSS program manager. “Kids are so grateful to come in and get a new gift for their birthday.” She went on to explain that many families struggle financially, especially at the beginning of a school year.
When parents come to CROSS to address food, housing and other crisis needs, they are offered the opportunity to choose items from the CROSS Toy Shop — including gifts, birthday cakes, and other party supplies for their children.
CROSS had help redoing and expanding the toy shop from the Rogers Rotary, the Grainer Foundation, and FedEx, highlighting an example of community organizations coming together to serve others.
Kiki Rogers, Rogers Rotary Community Chair, helped organize the volunteer tasks of painting the shelving that Wayne Anderson, another CROSS volunteer, built. The volunteers also relocated the shelving to larger area at CROSS, organized and sorted toys, and prepared the shop for the parents to choose gifts for their children.
“The Rogers Rotary truly enjoys partnering with CROSS, as both organizations’ goals are to benefit the community,” Rogers said. “Our Rotary members really enjoyed working on this project, and we look forward in future collaboration with CROSS.”
Grainger Foundation helped with financial support to triple the size of the CROSS Toy Shop, located in CROSS’s facility in Rogers. Grainger is a national foundation that supports organizations like CROSS through generous grants.
Roman Ohler, a Rotary member and local FedEx manager, led a team from FedEx to help with the project. In addition to their contributions to the toy shop, FedEx employees organized a school supply drive for CROSS, collecting over 225 pounds of supplies to add to school backpacks for more than 700 local children participating in CROSS’ Back-To-School Program. In another major contribution to CROSS, FedEx employees are coordinating with the CROSS Kidpack-Weekend Food for Kids to send volunteers every month during the school year to organize the food for Kidpack partners.
“Working with CROSS Services is enormously satisfying because we know that we are making an important difference right here in our community,” Maria Sall, President of Rogers Rotary. “It is this satisfaction that makes me feel truly blessed to be a Rotarian.”
To find out more about Rogers Rotary, visit their website www.rogersrotary.com .
CROSS serves the communities of Champlin, Corcoran, Dayton, Maple Grove, Osseo and Rogers. CROSS services include the food shelf, clothing, Meals on Wheels, school packs for kids, and many more.
To find out about volunteer opportunities and other ways to assist CROSS in its mission such as contributing or donating to CROSS, visit the website at www.CROSSservices.org or contact CROSS at 12915 Weinand Circle in Rogers, or call 763-425-1050.