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For more than a decade, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City provided gifts to families in need through its Christmas Adopt-A-Family program. This was a very successful program and brought the joy of Christmas into thousands of families’ homes. In 2014, as the board of directors and senior staff of Catholic Charities evaluated this program, it became evident that it could be refined to better respect the dignity of the clients it was serving. After studying the philosophy behind models for similar programs, Catholic Charities refined its previous Christmas program into A Very Giving Christmas – offering more client choice, empowering individuals with decision-making and the opportunity to give back to the community, thus closing the giving cycle.

IMG_1040In 2015, Sunbeam Family Services reevaluated its existing Christmas gift program. After careful consideration, Sunbeam Family Services decided it too would make a similar change to a Christmas program offering clients a choice. As neighbors on the rapidly expanding Corridor of Hope along Classen Boulevard in Oklahoma City, Catholic Charities and Sunbeam Family Services saw the opportunity to serve more families by collaborating on this unique project.

Families identified through Catholic Charities, Sunbeam Family Services and their community partners visit St. Nick’s Shoppe in December and, through a volunteer-guided shopping experience, select gifts to place under their Christmas trees. Once accepted into the program, families are asked to volunteer a set amount of time per member with a community organization or school.  When they submit their completed volunteer information to Catholic Charities or Sunbeam Family Services, the families then gain full access to St. Nick’s Shoppe. As they enter the Shoppe, they receive Santa Bucks to purchase toys, bikes, coats, tool sets, pots and pans and much more!

For more information about how A Very Giving Christmas operates, click here.

IMG_1030Catholic Charities and Sunbeam Family Services rely on the generosity of their donors and volunteers to make this program successful. Each organization works with its donors to secure needed items and cash donations. During the donation process, donors choose which of the two organizations they wish to give credit for their gift. Then, the organization recognizes the gift and confirms its association with A Very Giving Christmas. All items purchased by donors are delivered to St. Nick’s Shoppe, housed at Catholic Charities in 2017. While the Shoppe is open, Catholic Charities and Sunbeam Family Services staff and volunteers will work together to ensure the needs of all the participating families.

For more information about the items needed to stock St. Nick’s Shoppe, click here.

For more information about volunteer opportunities, click here.