Giving parents the ability to choose how they want to surprise their children
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In Early December, we begin stocking our Santa Shop with a broad range of new toys, books, crafts and activities, as well as new clothes for children from ages 1 through 12. The toys are donated — from individuals and organizations throughout the island — and the clothes are purchased throughout the year, generally at Deep Well discounts, by our veteran volunteer shoppers.
Parents come in at appointed times, either for a morning or afternoon shopping session, without their children present. Shelves are re-stocked between sessions to provide a full selection for everyone. As we hoped it would, the new program seems to bring greater joy to the children and a greater sense of dignity to the parents.
Although Deep Well has helped make the holidays special for thousands of children through the years, the debut of the Santa Shop in 2013 was a smashing success. Why?...Because it empowered families to have greater involvement in their children's Christmas, with the opportunity to select the items they knew their children would like best. And the kids were more surprised than ever! Click above to see how donors make the magic happen from start to finish.
Another reason for the Santa Shop's success has been the generosity of individuals and organizations on Hilton Head Island. Their individual gifts and numerous toy drives have always been the keys to making this and other Deep Well programs a real value to the community. Some look at it as "giving back;" some help "just because" — no matter the reason, the spirit of giving is alive and well here.
Families begin to register for the Santa Shop and a "Christmas basket" meal by phone on November 1st each year.
Last year, almost 900 children, ages one through 12, were able to select:
a toy from each of two categories
an outfit or piece of outerwear
a ball or similar recreational gift
a game or stuffed animal
a bag of stocking stuffers