The Attica Christmas Shop enters its third year of community service providing those in need with affordable gift options for the holidays.
Attica Free Methodist Church Pastor Jerry Badgley said the store is a way for people to get gifts for without feeling like a second-class citizen.
“We are trying to make it the community way that we help people in Attica at Christmas time. We want to provide a way for particularly parents and grandparents a way to buy Christmas presents for their kids or grandkids at a really affordable price without making them feel like second-class citizens somehow. We are not looking to give a hand out, we’re looking to give a hand up.”
The store offers toys and other gifts at 20 percent of the normal retail price. Badgley said many community groups and business donate to the cause.
“We provide new toys, clothes, electronics or whatever items are donated by people for 20% of the retail value. So, something that costs $10 in the store, they can get a bargain here and buy it for $2. It is all donated goods,” he said. “We have received donations from the Community Foundation in the past, from other churches, from businesses here in town, the schools have partnered with us and the Badlands have partnered with us. All have donated money or toys or clothes or whatever to the Christmas store.”
Badgley knows in some cases $50 can be a daunting amount of money and said there are volunteer options to help earn credit to use at the store.
“We have a $50 maximum that people can spend at the store and I know some people are struggling and couldn’t even come up with the $50 so what we are telling people is if they will volunteer at a place like the church, another church, the schools, or even the thrift store downtown,” he said. “We will give people a $10 an hour credit for the Christmas store for every hour they volunteer. All that I ask is that whoever they volunteer for would either email me or call me and let me know they volunteered, and I will give them.”
Badgley said the money the church takes in helps continue the cause.
“We take the 20 percent that comes in and we use the seed money for the next year so it all just stays right in the Christmas store,” he said.
Food is also available for patrons of the shop. Badgley said there is everything in it to make a full Christmas dinner.
“We also are going to provide a box of food. Last year it was a ham or turkey, a box of stuffing, five lbs. of potatoes, a bag of onions, can goods, a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk and some eggs. Everything they could need for Christmas dinner.”
Badgley said the idea stemmed from a book he read at a seminar put on by the Warren County Community Foundation.
“It started with the Warren County Community Foundation. They put on a seminar called A Better Way. The book called ‘A Better Way’ talked about how we’re not doing people a service by just handing stuff out, it lowers their self-esteem. When we just give stuff to people it’s not really helping them,” he said. “The better way is to allow people ways with dignity and with respect to earn the things that they need.”
He said he thought about how the church had been giving out donations but felt like it was not helping families as much as they could.
“We thought about what we had been doing in the past and we would get names of families that were struggling then learn what the kids wanted and buy the presents. We would take it to their house and what would often happen is that if there was a man at the house, as soon as we came to the front door they would head out the back door because they maybe felt like these people were going to judge them or that they couldn’t provide for their families,” he said. “So, the kids would get a Christmas but it wasn’t really helping the family.”
The store has grown as it enters its third year. Badgley said it now is held at Attica Elementary School and he needs to be contacted to make sure families can get a spot for Dec. 8.
“This will be our third year. The first year we just did it at our church in the basement and last year we did it at the elementary school for the first time,” Badgley said. “It is a one-day thing, but our plan is to be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. People need to call me because it is kind of a first-come first-served. They need to schedule a time for people to come to the store to shop so people don’t have to wait in line for a long time. If they call me, I’ll put them on the list.”
Badgley can be contacted via cell phone at 317-408-3871 or at the church 765-762-3478.