The Jubilee Store is a ministry of Charlotte Family Housing (CFH) that aims to provide a dignified way for families to purchase holiday gifts for their children while enjoying a festive and social atmosphere. All CFH families are on the path from homelessness to financial stability, so having a store where they can purchase gifts at a substantially discounted price, 30% of the retail price, enables them to provide presents for their families while staying within their budget and meeting their financial goals.
Christi Farr serves as the Ministry Team Leader for Jubilee Store this year and has worked faithfully with the program for the last four years. “I’ve done a little of everything: inventory restocking, assisting customers with gift selections, serving dessert to the shoppers, and directing traffic in the parking lot,” Christi says. This passion for serving has grown to include her entire family who also participates by taking leaves from the Thankful Tree to buy gifts for the children. “It is a wonderful opportunity to serve alongside our neighbors from Myers Park Methodist, Christ Church, and now St. John’s Baptist as well” she adds. While usually held at Myers Park United Methodist Church, this year’s Jubilee Store will be held at St. John’s to provide a familiar environment to CFH families. (St. John’s Baptist is home to the CFH main offices.) While providing gifts for children is an exciting part of the Jubilee Store’s mission, the most significant aspect is how the store gives families the dignity of shopping for and choosing their gifts. “We replicate a ‘real’ retail shopping experience complete with table displays, store decorations, shopping assistants, refreshments, a checkout line, and gift wrap services,” Christi says. Families have a set spending amount per child and purchase gifts using a combination of personal funds and additional credit earned by completing specific CFH programs. “Being able to play an active role in the selection and purchasing of gifts is incredibly important for self-sufficiency, and increases families’ sense of ownership in the process.”
As preparations for this year’s Jubilee Store get underway, there is a great need for donations as well as disciples to make this endeavor run smoothly. MPPC disciples are encouraged to take a leaf from one of the Thankful Trees located in the Welcome Center and Outreach Center and shop for the items listed on the leaf either in person or through the online Amazon Wish List. The unwrapped gifts can be returned to the labeled Welcome Center bins by December 2nd. The week before the Jubilee Store, disciples are needed to help process inventory and transport gifts to St. John’s Baptist. There are also numerous opportunities to serve alongside members of neighboring churches during store hours from playing games with the children in childcare to wrapping gifts and serving as shopping assistants.