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SALT LAKE CITY — Parents and children facing financial struggle this season will still get a chance to go Christmas shopping thanks to the Candy Cane Corner program.
Volunteers took time out of their Thanksgiving break to help out those less fortunate on Saturday when they set up a "store" for those who can't necessarily afford to go Christmas shopping for their friends and family.
The YWCA founded the Candy Cane Corner 15 years ago and expanded its partnership with two more organizations.
The "store" allows individuals from low-income and homeless families to still be able to have a shopping experience, despite economic hardships.
"It is now a collaboration between the YWCA, the Road Home, and the Volunteers of America. So it's a really large Sub for Santa program that benefits residents of all 3 agencies. And they can shop here for free," said Yen Nguyen, YWCA volunteer and in-kind donations coordinator.
Just like a retail store, the Candy Cane Corner relies on its staff to keep things running, from stocking the shelves to wrapping gifts. But the difference is all of the labor comes from donations of time and money, and all the "shopping" is free.
"What's unique about Candy Cane Corner is that so many people are involved. There's not just only all the people who have donated the toys and all the stuff at the store but all of the people who have donated their time to set up … the warehouse and all of the tables and shelves," said volunteer Stephany Morrison.
"It's completely free. We call it ‘shopping' because it's more empowering and a dignified term. And that's why we're trying to set it up to look like a store," Nguyen said.
Last year, Candy Cane Corner served over 500 families and 1,200 children. The public can help keep the store shelves stocked this season by donating new clothing, household items, and toys.
For drop-off hours or volunteer opportunities, visit candycanecornerslc.org.