Providence-Providence Park Christmas Store helps local children in need
By Kayla Dimick
London Young, 5, of Detroit, tells Santa her wishes Dec. 3 at the Providence-Providence Park Christmas Store. This year, volunteers provided around 1,000 children with a book, a toy and an outfit to enjoy for the holiday.
Posted December 7, 2016
SOUTHFIELD — Close to 1,000 children in metro Detroit may have a happier holiday this year thanks to the Providence-Providence Park Christmas Store.
On Dec. 3, volunteers filled the auditorium to assist with the Christmas Store, which provides an outfit, a book and a toy to around 1,000 local children, organizers said.
Laura Dailey-Pette, who is co-chair of the event and director of oncology at the hospital, said the event has been happening for over 30 years and is headed by the Philosophy of Service Committee at the hospital. The group aims to give back to the community by volunteering and donating, she said.
Dailey-Pette said that this year, event organizers decided to expand the store into two locations due to the number of children in need. In addition to the Southfield store, a location was added at Providence Park Hospital in Novi.
“Last year, just in Southfield alone we sponsored over 800 kids, so this year, there’s such a great need, we knew we had to expand, that we could not just do it in one store,” Dailey-Pette said. “Plus, we had heard from some of the moms that they had trouble getting to Southfield, so we decided that we were going to do a store in Novi also. Between our two stores, I think right at around 1,000 children are being sponsored.”
The committee works with local service agencies and schools to identify those in need each holiday season. Those families are then contacted and are invited to come to the Christmas Store, where each child is given an outfit, a book and a toy. Each family also receives a $25 gift card to Kroger.
In addition to running the store, employees at the hospital donate the clothes, books and toys. They also help out each year to keep the store running smoothly. Kroger donates the gift cards.
Families who are invited to the event receive complimentary child care during the event. There are crafts, gift wrapping, cookies and even a visit with Santa.
No children are allowed in the auditorium, which is where parents are able to shop for the gifts. The gifts are sorted by age and gender.
“The difference is — why we get to call it a shop — I’m not just buying for you, I’m buying for a kid who is 10 years old that wears a size 12 in boys,” Dailey-Pette said. “So when the moms come in, they get to go to that section. If my kid really likes purple or if my kid really likes Barbies, I can pick that out for them, so that makes it a little more personalized.”
Dailey-Pette said the amount that the hospital gives back to the community is special.
Velma Jackson, of Detroit, said she is grateful for the assistance from Providence. Jackson said she has an 8-year-old daughter and is expecting a baby soon.
“It really means a lot. It’s from the heart. I felt as though I was about to cry because I didn’t think I was going to get this much. I thought maybe a few items,” Jackson said. “But it really means a lot because I’m not working right now and I have a high-risk pregnancy, so I’m not able to do what I want to do for my child, and just for somebody else to help me out, it means the world. It just shows there are kind people.
The world isn’t just mean-spirited, evil, negative people. There are people who are very kind and generous.”
Paris Rutledge, a social worker from Detroit who works in the infant mortality program at the hospital, spoke on the need for the store.
“I believe if they didn’t have this, they wouldn’t be able to afford much for their children for Christmas. A lot of our moms don’t have sitters, so they bring their children. The thing I like about it the most is that the moms get to shop for their kids, versus getting generic things. Not that that’s not appreciated, but it’s always better when you can pick your own.”
About the author
Staff Writer Kayla Dimick covers Southfield, Lathrup Village and Southfield Public Schools. Kayla has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2014 and attended Oakland University and St. Clair County Community College.
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