Recap: Building Relationship through the Christmas Market

Since 2021, Schweitzer has partnered with Pittman Elementary to provide a free Christmas Toy Store for under-resourced families in our community. During the 2023 Christmas season, we decided to take a different approach, offering a Christmas market designed to empower and dignify parents rather than stepping into their role for them.

We invited more families than ever before – including three additional schools. Instead of giving away free toys, we offered them a major discount. This enabled parents to be the heroes for their kids by finding great bargains instead of being a place to get free toys – which sounds nice, but does not empower families. By changing our strategy, we had much more positive interactions with the parents, who were no longer embarrassed to be noticed. In fact, many shoppers spent extra time enjoying cookies and sharing their stories with volunteers.

We are grateful to our church for supporting this year’s Christmas Market! Through your donations of time and toys, we encouraged 64 families and helped provide a wonderful Christmas for 168 kids in our community. More than 90 volunteers came together to love and care for these families.

Parents who shopped at the market also raised almost $1,500 in proceeds, which were given back to four local schools. These proceeds will continue to support area families through initiatives like school stores where kids can get essential items for their families.

Your generosity continues to create pathways for Christ’s love to be shared in our community, and we couldn’t have done it without you!

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