By JILL SCHRAMM, Minot Daily News
MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Dozens of mothers can expect to be blessed this Christmas through “Something for Mom,” a new branch of the blessings program at Dakota Chappy in Minot.
Chappy Windsor, owner of the women’s clothing store, said bags containing an item of clothing and the packaging materials to gift it are being given away to children and others who might not otherwise be able to ensure a present for Mom under their trees.
“Something for Mom” is an extension of the Dakota Chappy blessing program in which customers can exchange lightly used clothing previously purchased at the store for purchase discounts. Dakota Chappy then will donate the clothing to others who can use a blessing.
“This is the first time that we’re giving away brand new merchandise. Everyone will get something brand new, but it’s very likely that some people will get a nice bag of a mix,” Windsor said. There even may be an accessory, such as earrings, or possibly even a gift card in a bag.
Windsor said it is difficult to know how many people the new program will serve, but she was prepared to give away dozens of the gift kits, the Minot Daily News reported.
Windsor said she hopes to also have volunteers who can deliver to those who sign up but don’t have transportation to pick up their bags. Pre-registering is useful because bags can be prepared with the correct clothing sizes, although Windsor said she will have pre-prepared bags of varied clothing sizes ready to hand out on Thursday to those who walk in.
The inspiration for the program was Windsor’s late grandmother, who grew up in rural North Dakota and raised her children with little money to go around.
“They really didn’t have much at all,” Windsor said. “So my grandmother went around the house and gathered up some things and then repurposed them and wrapped them as new gifts. Then, when all the gifts were opened – nothing for her.”
The program targeting mothers actually is designed to ensure that no woman goes without a gift under the tree, Windsor said. People are welcome to take a gift for a grandmother or other woman in their lives who shouldn’t go unremembered, or women can pick up gifts for themselves on behalf of children who aren’t able to perform that task.
The blessing is not just for the moms but for the children.
“It’s one thing to get a gift. But it’s another thing to be in the position to give one, and I think a lot of times disadvantaged kids don’t get that. They’re never in the position to give. They never have enough of their own,” Windsor said.
The importance of being able to give was impressed on Windsor some years ago after taking disadvantaged children shopping for Christmas presents. Handed an envelope of money with a Christmas list, one little girl ended up with change left over. Dropping the leftover dollars into a Salvation Army kettle, the girl commented that never in her life had she had enough to give to somebody else.
“The joy and the pride that she had in putting that money in there just stayed with me forever,” Windsor said. “I’ve seen through her lens what that felt like, and I just want to give people and kids an opportunity to feel the abundance that comes from giving. So that’s why we’re not doing the pre- packaged gift.”
By giving recipients the opportunity to package a gift and write on a note card, they can experience that feeling of giving, she explained.
Although the project is sponsored by Dakota Chappy, “Something for Mom,” it is made possible by support from the store’s customers throughout the year, making those customers a part of the blessing, Windsor said.
“Our mission here is to change lives and serve women, so we consider this to be a retail store that is also an organization of people who are like-minded,” she said. “What we’re doing is really on behalf of the customers, because I would not be in the position to do what I’m doing if it weren’t for them.”
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