The Furnished 4 Life Christmas Store at the Wedge Market recently celebrated its third year of helping individuals in need with their holiday shopping.
Project Urge was inspired to bring a Christmas store to Rochester from an idea vetted in Atlanta. The goal is to provide for personal selection and gifting pride at lower, more affordable prices. Donations from community members and local businesses this year brought new children’s gifts to families within their budgets.
Local social service agencies participated in the identification of families who could benefit from this community outreach. These families were scheduled to visit the store, where they were welcomed by greeters and fed holiday treats. Shoppers left with presents wrapped by volunteer wrappers.
“There were a lot of grateful parents who left the store with big smiles on their faces, knowing that their children would be thrilled with gifts that they picked out for them,” said Maria Wehrle, ministry leader at Furnished 4 Life and Mothers in Need of Others. “We are so appreciative of the Greater Rochester community taking action to provide the opportunity for many parents to host a positive holiday for their children to remember.”
Local businesses involved in toy collections efforts included ESL Victor Credit Union, Northwest Bank, Williamson High School, Henderson Ford, Rochester Area Music Project, Edge Advertising Group, Steinmiller Insurance, Omero’s Custom Ltd., Webster Chamber Health Insurance, The UPS store at Baytowne in Webster, Meadowbrook Townhome Association, Pat’s Coffee House, Crane Realty Group, Webster Girl Scout Troop 60023, Fairport High School and Fairport United Methodist Church.
“One particularly touching story was a mother of four children with a terminal disease whose case manager came into the store asking if she could purchase gifts for her client due to her illness and financial means,” Wehrle said. “The next day, not only did the case manager show up, but her client was by her side, weak and quite ill. She wanted to make sure she came to pick out the gifts for her children herself. With tears in her eyes, she hugged us and thanked us for the opportunity. That hug is shared with all of you.”