Portland, OR. For over 30 years, Christmas For Kids has helped with holiday shopping sprees for deserving kids hand-selected by their school counselors. Unfortunately, the annual volunteer event pictured above in 2019, won’t look the same this year. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, volunteers won’t be on hand to help with the shopping. Typically, students work with a Christmas for Kids shopper, and together they check off a Christmas list which usually includes things like needed clothes and coats. Volunteers are vital because they often augment allotted funds to help make wishlists complete.

A young girl, followed by her volunteer shopper, pushes her cart around while looking at plush animals during last year’s event.

Bill Wilson, a board member at Christmas For Kids, explains the decision to modify the event. “It’s kind of heartbreaking with COVID and then so many people losing their jobs or being furloughed or unemployed. The need is even greater this year than it has been in the past and it’s sad that we can’t have the event.”

According to Wilson, the nonprofit doesn’t want to risk spreading COVID-19, and that’s why volunteers must stay home. But organizers hope those generous individuals will make a contribution to the bottom line. Last year, the volunteer shoppers donated $15,000 to help complete shopping lists.

A child is fitted for a coat during last year’s event.

Christmas For Kids helps around 450-500 children each year and since 2004 the organization has helped over 9,800 kids. This year the list of worthy recipients is over 1,000. While volunteers won’t be present this year sponsors like superstore Fred Meyers, are promising to bring in additional staff and people to help on the day of the event. Items to expect this year include packaged clothing for girls and boys such as socks, underwear, fleece blankets, fleece coats, and fleece beanies. These packages will also include mystery merchandise from Columbia Sportswear Company.

Tigard Police attends and hands out teddy bears from the event last year.

Partnering with Fred Meyers has given the organization a substantial discount as well as discounts for items from Columbia. This allows the organization to maximize the amount they can give to the children.

With a larger goal of helping kids this Christmas, according to Wilson, the organization is going to be spending more money than they had anticipated due to the high need this year. To help with Christmas For Kids donations click here.

A combination of donated funds, donated items, and volunteer efforts keep overhead low; 95¢ of every $1.00 donated is spent on the children.

From Christmas For Kids website:

Christmas for Kids is a magical event where local Portland, Oregon Metro area kids are selected by their Title One School counselors, due to extreme need, to join a volunteer shopper to check off a Christmas wishlist. Our focus is to provide basic clothing needs for the child and their immediate siblings.

A combination of donated funds, donated items (coats, books, hygiene items, etc.), vastly reduced prices, and volunteer contributions create a unique situation in our organization where, on average, over 95¢ of every dollar donated is spent on the child on the day of the event.