In the fall of 2010, Karen was called to start the Holiday Gift Shop. She had been volunteering for 10 years with another holiday giving program when she found out that it was being eliminated. She was devastated. After Easter Lutheran, Christmas giving is her passion. She would shop and stockpile gifts all year. What was she to do now?

Holiday Gift Shop

Karen (far left) and fellow volunteers at one of the gift stations

After many prayers and tears, God gave her the answer. He said, “volunteer at the Eagan Resource Center and see the need there. If these people need help feeding their families, they also need help providing gifts for their families for Christmas.”

Pastor Jim agreed that we could use Easter’s giving tree gifts for the clients. Lisa Horn, from the Eagan Resource Center (ERC), volunteered the ERC house for the week and the Holiday Gift Shop was born. Several other churches, businesses and individuals have since joined together with Easter to provide gifts for these families. In the last 3 years we have provided Christmas gifts to about 980 families (3,000 children and 1,700 parents.)

Hugs and tears have been shared as the guests receive their gifts and
share their own stories. Many have told us that the one gift each person receives from the Holiday Gift Shop will be their only gift that year for Christmas. Karen has a very hard time with this when she considers the over-abundance of gifts at her family gatherings.

Karen also volunteered at the Salvation Army Backpack Distribution held at Easter on August 14. “During set-up on Tuesday, a call was put out when we realized that more supplies were needed. Many people came in with bags filled with supplies and stories that they bought all that Target and Walmart had!” said Karen. “I am always impressed by the generosity of our people – they always come through when asked. I have seen it happen many times, so I shouldn’t be surprised, but my Easter family continues to amaze me!”

The Holiday Gift Shop event continues to bless the volunteers, those who donate gifts, and the families that receive the gifts. Karen feels very blessed to be a blessing, and to have the support of her Easter family, the ERC, the Salvation Army, her own family, and friends.