Santa's Workshop needs your help
JANESVILLE—Christmas isn't always about receiving for children.
That's what Santa's Workshop is all about.
“It's creating memories and giving the children an opportunity to shop for their parents and other significant adults in their lives,” said Maj. Ruth Fay of the Salvation Army, which hosts the event.
Santa's Workshop will take place Saturday, Dec. 7, at First Lutheran Church, 612 N. Randall Ave.. The event is a collaboration between the local church and social services agency.
“It's wonderful, and the children love it so they have something to give to their adults Christmas morning,” Fay said.
Organizers are making a big change to this year's event, which is open to grade-school children living in Rock County.
“They have to register for their time—appointments--to come shopping,” Fay said.
The reason for the registration requirement comes from the several hours-long wait that occurred last year when some of the more than 500 children who came to shop couldn't wait any longer, she said.
“We don't want that to happen again,” Fay said.
“We didn't run out of donations, it was strictly they didn't have the time to wait. We don't want to turn anyone away. The goal is to service everybody, and they can plan their day better now that everyone who wants to volunteer and shop need to sign up ahead of time,” she said.
All gifts sold during Santa's Workshop are donated by the community, which also makes up the several hundred volunteers who help at the event. Gifts cost 25 cents each, and personal shoppers are on hand to help kids pick out and wrap their gifts.
Although there has not been a lack of donations or volunteers, there has been a shortage of gift items donated for men. Any sports-related items are welcome because they sell fast, Fay said.
Boosting this year's donations was Stacy Myszewski of Janesville, who dropped of a carload of new and gently used items Tuesday. The items included a variety of sizes of artificial Christmas trees, ornaments, trinkets, mugs, dishes, gift packs and decorative scarves.
“I think it is so important for children to experience the great feeling that comes with giving,” said Myszewski, who already is planning another delivery to Santa's Workshop.
“These are things we would consider frivolous and things less fortunate families wouldn't be able to buy themselves,” she said.
There are a number of programs available that help parents give to their children, Myszewski said, “but this is really unique because it gives children an opportunity to give something, no matter how big or small, to somebody special in their lives.”