Church Women United host annual Christmas Store event

December 13, 2012

Portia Williams

PDT Staff Writer

The Scioto County chapter of Church Women United hosted the annual Christmas Store event at Shawnee Mental Health Wednesday.

For more than 30 years, Church Women United has hosted the Christmas Store for clients of Shawnee Mental Health.

Shelby Powell serves as president of the local Chapter of Church Women United and said the organization looks forward to hosting the Christmas Store every year.

The volunteers consisted of members of Church Women United, which is a collaborative effort of women from different local churches, as well as other members within the community.

Gayle Massie, is a professor at Shawnee State University brought five of her students to help at the Christmas Store.

“I have been participating in this event for about 20 years. I teach Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing at Shawnee State, and this helps my students to become aware of community services for the clients,” Massie said.

Powell said this year’s Christmas Store will serve 75 of the Shawnee Mental Health Clients.

“The caseworkers bring their clients in and they come in groups of about 10-15 people at a time, and they can take clothing or anything that they want. We ask for new, and or lightly used items,” Powell said.

Powell said the store is not intended to be a rummage sale, and that the items are gift-wrapped for the clientele.

“We just do this out of the love and goodness of our hearts to help the community, and it is something that they really look forward to,” Powell said.

There is a myriad of different items available for the clients to choose from such as clothing, books, electronics, household items and so forth.

Desiree Reeves, a clinician at Shawnee Mental Health said that she is very appreciative for Church Women United’s efforts.

“I have been involved with the Christmas store for about 25 years, and we really appreciate what they do for our clients,” Reeves said.

Reeves also said the priority this year was to put the single parents first on the list of clients to be served.

“We have to make sure that single parents are taken care of. Next, we assess the needs of the clients and act accordingly depending upon their needs,” Reeves said.

Reeves said they are always in need of nice items for their clients with the exception of candles and sharp items.

According to Powell, The Christmas Store dates back to the days in which Shawnee Mental Health was housed in the old Receiving Hospital.

“Back then we would provide gifts for the patients at the hospital. Then it became River Valley Hospital and we continued to set up the store and let the patients come in and shop,” Powell said. “Then after the Receiving Hospital was gone, then Shawnee Mental Health moved down here to the old Lute Lumber building, here on Washington Street and they asked us if we would continue to have the Christmas store.”

Powell said the organization gladly honored the request to continue the event. She said Shawnee Mental Health provides lunch and light refreshments for the volunteers while they work.

Andrea Young, a member of Church Women United said the Christmas store is joy to participate in.

“It is one of the more delightful things that I do during the holidays. It is a joy watch the people, who otherwise, would not be able to shop, come in get gifts is just a wonderful thing to be able to do and we just enjoy ourselves,” Young said.

Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or portiawilliams@heartlandpublications.com