Local ministry offers hope for the holidays, with “Santa’s Shop”

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Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 10:37 PM EST

IRMO, S.C. (WIS) - On a cold morning in Irmo, the warmth of Christmas was felt within the walls of “Sharing God’s Love.”

On any other day, the ministry offers food, clothing, and utility assistance for those who need it, a mission the agency has carried out for nearly 40 years.

But for two days this past week, they did even more, just in time for Christmas.

In the basement of the warehouse, volunteers set up what they called “Santa’s Shop”, filled with toys and items, especially for kids.

The walls were decorated with construction paper ribbons, the bins were neatly labeled.

A few fluorescent lights, cast a glow on the items, just waiting to be selected, wrapped, and given to a child.

Those who the organization serves year-round were offered the chance to “shop” here free of charge and select presents for their children.

As each client walked through with a cart, one of the volunteers who worked there was clearly moved.

“Well, it’s the faces, and the love that you can give them,” the volunteer explained, her eyes welling up with tears as she watched a client picking out a few items for her child.

“Things can happen that never would have happened (otherwise). And the children are going to be happy with what’s going on here.”

Volunteers helped the clients pick out Christmas gifts, using a checklist that details the needs of the shoppers.

Beyond the bears and hot wheels, barbies, and kickballs, the staff aimed to give even more than presents under the tree.

“I feel like if they come here and don’t leave with hope in their heart, then we haven’t done what we need to be doing for them. So that’s what we try and do here,” the volunteer said.

Shari Selke is the executive director at “Sharing God’s Love.”

“People come in, and they might have the weight of the world on their shoulders. But they come into our little ministry, and we share the love of Christ and the blessings we have received.”

When those blessings met open hands and grateful hearts, that weight got a little lighter, and the season got that much brighter.

For more information about how you can help “Sharing God’s Love” or if you need assistance, click here: https://sharinggodslove.net.

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