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2 min read

Christmas Shopping that Helps the Homeless

By Merrily Brast, former Staff Writer

“Try it on! Try it on!” As each of 20 cousins, aunts, and uncles from Tiffany Riddle’s family opened their gifts for Christmas, they were urged to model their new belongings and reveled in the money saved while buying those gifts.

A Gift Exchange

Last December, Tiffany, former Director of Vocational Advancement and Aftercare at Union Gospel Mission, and her relatives began what she hopes will become a new tradition.

With three families in her home to celebrate Christmas, she and her sisters decided that they needed to find an affordable way to exchange presents for so many people.

“We thought, okay, the kids can’t afford gifts to exchange…so we just put everybody’s name in a hat—like a lot of families do…They exchanged names and everybody had their name of the cousin they were gonna shop for.”

After receiving a relative’s name, the three clans raided the UGM Thrift Store, where they found clothes, shoes, and sports equipment as gifts for one another.Tiffany_Riddle_Blog_1

“We have such great brands at the Thrift Store…People are still wearing and using the things they got because people donate really high quality things. Really nice, high end items at a price we could afford.”

More Than Affordable

In addition to being economical, their shopping was rewarding in other ways.

“We all just took over the store, shopping around, looking for things, and trying to hide, and it was so much fun! In the midst of us going there, this turned out to be the most amazing time. And then at the same time, it was cool cause it felt like wow, we’re actually helping the Union Gospel Mission and what we do here.”

There are two UGM Thrift Stores – one in Spokane Valley and another in downtown Spokane. These enterprises receive high quality donations which in turn provide employment training for UGM residents.

They also supply affordable goods for the community, free clothing and household items for UGM shelters, and financial support to the Mission’s various ministries.

Tiffany’s family was thrilled to be helping the homeless while, at the same time, making fun, quality purchases.

“…my family is in love with what we do. Even from afar. I mean, they think it’s really cool how lives are changed here. And it was a neat way to make [us] feel like we were giving back.”

Tiffany emphasized how much joy and satisfaction her relatives got out of this creative twist on gift-giving and expressed a desire to do this for Christmas celebrations to come.

“It just became a really fun, memorable event. And we all stood out in front with our huge bags of everything we got.”

Tiffany’s family used holiday shopping as a means to help the homeless. This Christmas season, consider doing the same by shopping at the UGM Thrift Stores.

Keep Christ in Christmas by spending time in his Word. Download the free devotional below.

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