The Binghampton Development Corporation‘s Greatest Gift Christmas Store is gearing up for another year of offering affordable toys to families in Binghampton, giving parents the “Greatest Gift” – the dignity of providing Christmas for their children – following after the example of Jesus, our Greatest Gift.
As of December 3, we still need toys to meet the demand from Binghampton ministries’ referrals for 70 families who will shop for their 200 children! There’s a need for boys and girls toys for ages 0 to 12 of diverse cultural backgrounds. Popular items include action figures (Avengers, Transformers, Spiderman, etc.), interactive dolls, sports items, educational toys for infants and toddlers and more found on the BDC’s Amazon Wish List. Bring your items by Sunday, December 7!
To make it easy, they’ve created a Wish List on Amazon.com, which you can see by clicking here. Use this list to get ideas or purchase directly from the list, using the shipping address provided.
Bob Lupton’s work in Christian community development has been deeply influential in the philosophy and method of CUMC’s engagement in this type of work with Binghampton, and he has spoken here in recent years. It is from insights like his that the BDC establishes its vision for the Christmas Store.
Lupton wrote in his most recent newsletter about his organization’s equivalent to the The BDC Greatest Gift Christmas Store, Pride for Parents, in which he unfolds the rationale for this special type of help to our neighbors during the holidays:
I understand the intent of angel-tree-type programs that provide Christmas gifts to the children of inmates and parents who have fallen on hard times. I understand, yes. The motives are good. They come from the heart. But surely, if we engage our minds as well as our hearts, we can come up with methods of giving that bring joy to struggling parents rather than emotional pain.
This is the very reason why we instituted our Christmas Pride for Parents promotion. It replaced our Adopt-a-Family program that had suburban families delivering presents to the homes of needy families. Once we saw the hurt in eyes of struggling parents as they watched others provide for their children, we knew we had to find a better way …
Our South Atlanta Marketplace becomes a bustling toy store between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Generous people from all around the city have toy parties, go toy shopping with their kids, plan toy drives at their church or business and fill the store with an amazing array of bargains – from dolls to bicycles, board games to basketballs. Inner-city parents then experience the excitement of buying those special gifts that they know will delight their children – at wholesale prices and below! They can even place larger items in lay-away.
And the proceeds? Well, some unemployed parents have no money at all for gifts so we are able to hire them to work in the store. That way everyone has money to shop for bargains. Some parents enter our retail training program and move out into the economic mainstream. Thus, the donations of toys become gifts that keep on giving all year long. What a child really needs, after all – even more than a Christmas toy – is an effective parent.
Every year the BDC Greatest Gift Christmas Store becomes bigger and better in its mission to celebrate Christmas with the community of Binghampton in a way that is respectful and mindful of the dignity of parents, who–while they have lower incomes–should be able to receive the help they need to ensure that they are able to provide Christmas gifts to their own children.
Drop off your new toys and gifts in boxes until Friday, December 5 at the front desk.
If you choose to shop on Amazon, remember to shop on smile.amazon.com, choose the BDC as your charity of choice, and a portion of your purchase will support the BDC!