While 2020 has been challenging for many, it’s been especially tough for vulnerable populations, like those we serve at YWCA Dayton. In a year that’s anything but normal, our annual Holiday Market provides clients and residents with as much normalcy possible as they face the unique struggles and stress associated with trauma recovery.
In the middle of the busy holiday season, our Teen Services lobby transforms into a festive shopping experience, where women in our domestic violence shelters and permanent supportive housing units can select and wrap gifts for their children or grandchildren or pick up essential household items they need, in a safe, supportive environment.
More than a dozen volunteers helped make this year’s Holiday Market a memorable experience for everyone involved. Volunteers set up the market, sorted donations and provided personal shopping assistance – including gift wrapping – for the 100+ women and children who shopped during the four-day event.
One of those volunteers, Kathy Will, has returned for her second year with the Holiday Market, which she finds to be a rewarding opportunity to serve women and children in need.
“While I think it’s important all the time, it’s more important this year than ever before to bring a sense of joy to the women and children served by YWCA Dayton,” said Will.
The Holiday Market is coordinated by Kelsi Martinez, volunteer coordinator, who, now in her fourth year of holiday celebrations at YW, sees the Holiday Market as a way to give women a sense of autonomy and independence by providing a holiday shopping experience tailored to meet each individual’s needs.
“Empowering women and maintaining dignity is the core of YWCA Dayton’s mission, and the Holiday Market is an opportunity for us to live that out,” said Martinez. “The market is designed with equity in mind, set up like a store so that if a shopper prefers a particular color coat or has a specific toy in mind for her child, she is free to make whatever decision she feels will be best for her family.”
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, YW’s generous donors and community partners stepped up, once again. Donors typically drop off items in person, but, just like everything else in 2020, much of the process moved online.
Since the beginning of December, individuals from across the greater Dayton community participated in YW’s annual Holiday Wish List donation drive, donating everything from home goods and personal hygiene products, to coloring books and toys. According to Martinez, instead of donating through in-person drives throughout the community, many donors opted to purchase items from the Holiday Wish List on Amazon, which were then shipped directly to YW offices – a change from previous years.
For more information on how to give all year long, visit www.ywcadayton.org/help.
In the news:
YWCA holding holiday market for Miami Valley Women in need (WDTN-TV)