Citing rising costs for utilities and food, a Johnson County Christmas Bureau official said the nonprofit is experiencing greater demand for groceries, personal care items and more.
The organization has helped provide necessities to families for the past 63 years. Last year alone, the nonprofit gave away tons of groceries, 349,890 personal care items, including 83,000 diapers, 65,000 books and 8,300 children’s and teens’ coats, hats, gloves, clothes and shoes.
This year, the nonprofit’s executive director, Nina Kimbrough Johnson, said the need for donations and volunteers is much higher.
“There is a great need in this area,” Johnson said. “Utilities have gone up, food prices have gone up, gas prices have gone up, and that really hits people who are struggling financially.”
The Johnson County Christmas Bureau holiday shop is open until Dec. 9 in the former Stein Mart building at 9656 Quivira Road in Lenexa, and Johnson said they are expecting to help more than 15,000 people, which she said is 4,000 more than in 2022. The organization has already served over 1,000 nursing home residents this year.
If you are looking for help from the bureau or would like to donate, here’s what you need to know.
How can people sign up for the holiday shop?
You must be a Johnson County resident to sign up for the holiday shop. The organization only accepts applications from residents who are 150% below the poverty level in the county.
You can apply using the online form (form.jotform.com/231047036171143), where you will enter your personal information and fill in the times you can go to the shop. The bureau is adding more time slots.
There are over 62,000 people below the poverty line in Johnson County, including 26,000 people who are 150% below the poverty line, according to Johnson.
How can people donate or volunteer?
Anyone can sign up to volunteer at the holiday shop using the online form at jccb.org/apply2023. Volunteers must be at least 11 years old, and if they are between the ages of 11 and 14, they must be accompanied by an adult.
Each four-hour shift typically calls for 95 volunteers, according to Johnson. Volunteers can help set up, work as shopping escorts, keep the store organized and more.
You can donate items by dropping them off at 9656 Quivira Road in Lenexa. You can also donate money online.
Below are the items the bureau is looking for:
Groceries: enough for three to five days. Johnson said any kind of food is accepted, from canned goods to items that need to be placed in a freezer.
Personal care items: laundry detergent, soap, shampoo, hygiene products, toothbrushes, diapers and more
Toys for children ages 0-10
Age-appropriate gifts for kids ages 11-18
Adult gifts: household items
Clothing: hats, coats, shirts, pants, gloves, scarves, shoes, socks, underwear
Holiday items, like ornaments or wrapping paper