Degage’s Upcoming Christmas Store is Wrapped in Dignity

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Degage Christmas store cutline No. 1Degage’s Christmas store offers its patrons a place to buy gifts with dignity.Christmas is the time of year when people anticipate giving presents to loved ones. That same desire holds true for the homeless and disadvantaged who often can't afford to purchase gifts. Enter Degage Ministries, 144 South Division Avenue. The Heartside District ministry is hosting its Christmas Store on Dec. 16 and 17 for the people it serves.

All the merchandise cost $5 or less, said Liz Warners, Degage's volunteer and development coordinator. Items for sale range from comforters to coffee makers, soaps, cleansers, hairnets, hygiene products, candles and underwear.

Around 100 shoppers last year

Last year's store drew an average of 100 shoppers that offered 2,000 items for sale, according to Warners.

Patrons may also purchase products for themselves, added Warners.

All the products where donated by churches and private donors, thanks to a wish list of items Degage published in early November.

While this is Degage's third year for the store, this year marks the first time the ministry posted its wish list on, which can be seen online.

A store with dignity

Degage Christmas store cutline No. 2Last year’s largesse was around 2,000 items. This year’s is still being totaled.Degage's Christmas store is unique because of the dignity it provides its patrons, said Warners. Christmas is typically the time of year when well-intentioned individuals and organizations donate gifts to the impoverished without realizing it diminishes their sense of self-worth.

"There's such a divide between people giving and people receiving," said Warners. "We want to offer a more dignified option for our patrons to receive or give presents. Our store gives them a chance of being normal and go shopping."

Opportunity to reconnect

Christmas is a special time of year for the homeless who can be estranged from their relatives most of the year. The holiday that celebrates the birth of Christ often is an opportunity to reconnect with them again, and bearing gifts helps bridge that relational gap.

"Often times the holidays are times when they make an effort to connect back together," said Warners.

"Our store is really a fun couple of days."


Author Information
Paul R. Kopenkoskey
Author: Paul R. KopenkoskeyWebsite:
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a full-time freelance writer and editor for an assortment of publications including Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Faith Grand Rapids magazine. He has completed his first novel with the working title, Karl Beguiled. He and his wife, Barb, live in Wyoming, Michigan. They have three children and five grandchildren.

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