Christmas House wants every child to receive a gift

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Christmas House wants every child to receive a gift

EVERETT – The Christmas House volunteer group believes in the benevolent idea that every child should be given a toy for the holidays.
Today is the opening day of operations to provide a “free store” to low-income families.
Parents and caregivers can select new toys inside the gymnasium at Everett Boys & Girls Club, 2316 12th St. Christmas House is open Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. December 30 to 18.
Before you go, know that there are rules.
Christmas House serves Snohomish County families earning 150% or less of the federal poverty line. For a household of two, it’s $ 502.50 per week before taxes; for three, it’s $ 633.46 per week before taxes. (Someone who earns minimum wage and works 40 hours per week earns $ 547.60 per week before taxes.)
You must bring proof of custody of the child you are looking for (a birth certificate is one way), proof of income with a recent payslip or government documents, proof of the number of members of your household and a proof of a current Snohomish County Address.
People have to wait their turn, and starting at 7 a.m., people get slips of paper with an appointment time to do their shopping.
It’s for kids, but don’t plan on bringing them inside. No children or infants are allowed inside, and there is no on-site child care, so you will need to make arrangements while you shop.
Restrictions to adults only stem from the principle of giving. The idea is for a parent to make thoughtful purchases for their child.
If you go, you would buy a Christmas stocking, a small toy, a large toy, and a new coat or shoes. The store’s family table includes a limited amount of wrapping paper and bows to take home.
“We have a lot of toys” to meet this year’s needs, said association president Gregg Milne. He expects Christmas House to donate more than 23,000 toys to 7,300 children in 2,500 families. With the economy hit by the pandemic, it could be more.
Some huddle in the cold to be the first to line up at 7 a.m., but people can still get a ticket to do their shopping if they arrive around mid-morning, Milne said. While 200 tickets are handed out on weekdays and 300 on weekends, sometimes there were days when shopping tickets only ran out in the afternoon, he said.
“Whether you come on the first or the last day, there are good quality toys out there,” Milne said. “Lots of beautiful things.”
All toys are new thanks to donations. There are also refurbished bikes, courtesy of Everett’s Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop volunteers.
The association is closely monitoring COVID-19 security and you must bring your own mask to enter.
This is the first time during the pandemic that Christmas House has summoned people for shopping. Last year, the group distributed toys through food banks.
Volunteers have kept the magic of the Christmas House alive for decades.
It all started 40 years ago with a kind man, Roy Fraser, who saw a need and filled his garage with refurbished, handmade toys for county kids. The volunteers hooked up and the Christmas House became the annual seasonal giveaway seen today.

Need accommodation for shopping?
People with disabilities or with other documented medical conditions can make special arrangements by calling 425-338-2273. A volunteer will do the shopping for you with your advice.

Donate a toy
New and unwrapped toys for the Christmas House are accepted at:
• All Les Schwab Tires locations,
• The Everett Mall toy box, 1402 SE Everett Mall Way, Everett,
• Lamoureux Real Estate, 1904 Wetmore Ave., Everett,
• RE / MAX real estate offices in Snohomish and Everett: 2902 Colby Ave. (corner Colby and Hewitt), Everett, and 1800 Bickford Ave., # 206, and 2701 Bickford Ave., Suite A, Snohomish.
• All Everett Fire Department stations

Learn more
For information on how to volunteer at Christmas House or details on shopping rules, visit www.christmas-house.org or call the message line at 425-338-2273.

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