people shop through the Christmas Store at the Community Engagement Center

UMB partners with the Foundry Church of Baltimore and WJZ-TV to help community members purchase holiday gifts at a deep discount.

Tis the season of gift giving, and as the holidays approach, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) opened its annual Christmas Store at the Community Engagement Center (CEC) on Dec. 9 and 10. The store is a special tradition for West Baltimore neighbors that provides a convenient location to purchase holiday gifts for their loved ones at a deep discount.

“We are trying to make purchasing holiday gifts in reach for everybody,” said Brian Sturdivant, MSW, director of strategic initiatives and community partnerships for UMB. “This year, in this economy, everybody's feeling stretched. We really want to make sure that our neighbors are able to buy gifts for their loved ones without putting themselves out too much.”

Unlike many toy drives that happen around the holidays, UMB’s Christmas Store works directly with parents so that they can hand-pick toys and gifts for their families rather than receive a gift from an anonymous source. For the Christmas Store, donors purchase full-priced toys through an online gift registry. Then, those toys are sold to West Baltimore neighbors at a steep discount. All the gifts in the store are marked down to a third or a quarter of their regular retail price, and most of them cost between $1 and $5. This model allows neighbors to personally pick out gifts for their loved ones and makes parents the “heroes of Christmas.”

Read more at UMB News

Caption: West Baltimore neighbors browse the toy selection at the annual Christmas Store, set up in UMB's Community Engagement Center.

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