WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A free Christmas shopping event for anyone in need of gifts for children or babies was held between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Friday, December 18 at Nest Realty’s Mayfaire office.
When Molly Tilyou shared on social media that she wanted to donate gently used children’s toys and clothes to people in need this Christmas, little did she know, her idea was going to blow up overnight into an event that was going to impact many families this holiday season.
Neighbors, friends, and members of the community came together to collect toys and clothing so families in need could ‘shop’ for their children without having to worry about the cost. All items at the FREE Christmas Shop were completely free while supplies lasted.
“We’ve had kids come and they’re not even wearing pants or jackets and it’s really cold evening so the need was definitely there and we’re just happy to be a part of it and spreading some Christmas cheer,” Tilyou said.
Everyone received two tickets for two free toys. There was a stocking stuffer table, a parent’s table where kids can pick out gifts for parents, a wrapping table for gift wrapping and more. Local vendors, Apple Annies and Spill Coffee served food and drinks.
One volunteer, Austin Trotman said “I like seeing the kids come up here and pick out the toys for their siblings. I think that’s my favorite thing. I haven’t really actually seen that before and that’s been cool seeing kids get gifts for other kids.”
The first hour of the event, beginning at 3:30 p.m., was reserved for teachers, social workers, and people in dire need; from 4:30 p.m., the event was open to everyone. Masks were required.
Organizers say they hope to make the event an annual one.
“I think everyone here [had]a good time, which is really exciting and I just...am full of so much love and this is what Christmas is all about,” Tilyou said.