Many organizations help children get presents during the holidays. One organization in Charlottesville wants to help children who might not otherwise be able to afford it experience the joy of giving presents, instead.

City of Promise, a Charlottesville nonprofit organization that works to end generational poverty, is hosting a holiday free store. Any children attending Charlottesville City Schools and their household siblings can pick out holiday gifts for their parents and caregivers.

Executive director Mary Coleman got the holiday store idea from a similar program at a Washington, D.C. public housing site where Coleman and her family volunteered to help children shop for and wrap gifts. She said that it was “so satisfying and fun” that she wanted to do it here in Charlottesville.

“There are many organizations providing toys for kids, and I think we may be the only one focused on sharing with children how special it is to give,” said Coleman. “For low-income parents, these may be the only gifts they receive.”

Logo reads "Short & Important"

City of Promise staff and volunteers will help children wrap the gifts to give to their parents to unwrap on Christmas morning, or during their families’ holiday celebrations. They are looking for items to stock the store by Dec. 15. To schedule a drop-off at City of Promise (708 Page Street, Charlottesville), email [email protected] or call or text 434-295-9525.

Here are some items you might think about giving to the store:

  • New or barely worn hats, gloves and scarves
  • New, unused, or very lightly used small kitchen appliances, dish sets, serving trays, gadgets, etc.
  • New body care items and beauty products, such as cologne, perfume, body wash, lotion and shaving items
  • New home decor, towels and candles
  • Good condition jewelry, watches and wallets
  • Tools, flashlights, car care items and tech products
  • Other quality items people would enjoy
  • Gift bags, wrapping paper, ribbon and tape

Do not wrap the gifts, as the children need to be able to see the items to choose. City of Promise hopes to help around 100 children give their parents, or the caretaker adults in their lives, meaningful gifts this year.

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