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  • Monica Ruiz

On the third day of christmas...

Once we volunteered at the Salvation Army, we wanted to find another way to serve the people in our community. We had the privilege of assisting the fantastic team at the Modesto Gospel Mission for their “Ten Days of Christmas” event. We were there on the third day. There were no French Hens in sight; however, there were plenty of gifts to be given out.


The Mission held appointments every 10 minutes to distribute a total of 3,600 gifts to families in need. Families would come in to select Christmas gifts for themselves and their households. One voucher was given for each family member, and that voucher could be exchanged for one of the available presents. Our team familiarized itself with the items on hand, organized products by category, and put things that could be paired together, such as crayons with coloring books. We wanted to make the shopping experience pleasant and simple. We set out to make it a personable experience by ensuring each person left with the perfect gift for their loved one. We became personal shoppers by asking questions like, “Who are we shopping for today?” and “What are they interested in? Do they have any hobbies?” From that point, we had a good sense of what items were in the warehouse and could find exactly what they were looking for. One particular parent shared that her daughter loved Spiderman and was having difficulty finding something for her. Our spidey senses were tingling as we knew there were Spiderman action figures nearby. We were thrilled to know one little girl was getting something she was over the moon for.


The Mission’s staff noted there were many generous contributions for infants, young boys, and adults; however, the inventory for young girls was sparse. Salina and I joined them on a trip to Wal-Mart, to purchase gifts for girls 7 to 16. With a $1,000 budget, we channeled our inner tween and filled shopping carts with dolls, playdough, scented candles, makeup, body sprays, face masks, cozy socks, and more. Upon return from the store, the minute we put out the newly purchased products, they were wiped out! It brought us joy to see the excitement on the girl’s faces. There was finally something for them!


It was a great experience spending the day alongside courageous and generous people--the families that had the courage to seek out resources in a time of need and the generous people working at and supporting the Mission so that there is a place in our community. Service with and to these groups of people is at the heart of who we are as a company, team, and individuals. We look forward to many more days spent at the Mission.


Thank you, Modesto Gospel Mission, for having us and for the amazing work you do for our community!