0
Votes

Start Shopping

Surrounded by the sounds of Christmas carols, volunteers and visitors wandered through the isles of the Community Holiday CoalitionÕs holiday store. People gathered at Thursday, Dec. 14, for the opening of the coalitionÕs annual holiday store, located this year in a warehouse in the Dulles Trade Center.

Throughout the warehouse tables were stacked high with toys and gifts. There was a table covered in dolls, another filled with board games, another stacked with boxes full of stockings.

In addition, there were racks of shirts and coats and tables full of pants. Row after row of bags of food and boxes of household items lined one wall of the warehouse. There were also carefully decorated Christmas trees, which will be raffled off to families in need.

The Community Holiday Coalition relies on donations from families, businesses, churches and individuals to stock its store.

"We are blessed with a really giving community," Karen Velez, of the Department of Family Services, said. "This is truly a neighbors-helping-neighbors program."

THIS YEAR the Community Holiday Coalition will serve 1,550 Loudoun families, 350 more families than were served last year. Velez said that more than 3,000 children will receive gifts and clothes from the store.

Families included in the coalitionÕs program will have five days to come to the store and shop for their holiday celebrations. The coalition hopes to provide each child with a complete outfit, a warm winter hat and gloves or mittens, a couple of toys, books, a game or craft kit and a filled stocking. For seniors, the coalition likes to provide a new clothing item and a gift. All families will receive a laundry basket filled with items such as, toilet paper, laundry detergent, shampoo and soap, and a food basket.

Buchanan Partners, owners of the Dulles Trade Center, donated the warehouse for the holiday store and contractor Bopat Electric donated the labor and lights to illuminate the space.

"This exceeds anything we expected," Kevin J. Burns, the chief operating officer for Buchanan Partners, said. "The visual impact of this is amazing. It is really nice to be able to do this. Otherwise this would be sitting empty and in the short term we are able to do something really good."