The nonprofit Johnson County Christmas Bureau is in “desperate” need of a space to host its annual holiday shop for low-income residents.
Why it matters: The group has not been able to find a space to lease temporarily in order to host the shop this December and is asking for the public’s help in locating a potential space in the next two weeks.
- Christmas Bureau officials say they have stockpiled more than $1 million worth of goods and are hoping to get them into the hands of residents who need them this holiday season.
🚨 Think you can help?
Anyone who may be able to volunteer a space that fits the Christmas Bureau’s needs or knows of one available should call Nina Kimbrough at 913-228-2812.
Catch up quick: The Johnson County Christmas Bureau is a local nonprofit that has distributed items and goods to low-income Johnson Countians each Christmas season for the past 60 years.
- The group’s annual holiday shops runs for about two weeks each December, giving out items like diapers, books, hats and gloves to people living at or below 150% of the federal poverty line.
- Typically each year, the Christmas Bureau’s holiday shop serves between 10,000 and 12,000 people, according to the group.
What they need: The Johnson County Christmas Bureau says it needs a 35,000- to 50,000-square-foot commercial space with docks, electricity, heat and restrooms in which to conduct its two-week market this December.
- The group usually finds a donated space each year in which to do the holiday shop but has struggled for months to find one this time around.
- Most recently, the Christmas Bureau operated its holiday shop out of a vacated Toys R Us store on 95th Street in Overland Park, but that space is now being leased full-time, officials said.
- Prior to that, the holiday shop operated out of the former Sears on Metcalf Avenue, but that building is now in the process of being demolished.
The upshot: Nina Kimbrough, executive director of the Johnson County Christmas Bureau, said they’ve been looking since the start of the year for a suitable space, but they’re now running out of options and want to get word out to see if anyone knows of an available space they can use.
- The Bureau, she said, would need the space from Dec. 1 to Dec. 15.
An increase in demand: Kimbrough said the Christimas Bureau already expects more Johnson Countians in need of essential items this holiday season than they saw last year.
- This year, Kimbrough said the bureau is expecting 12,000 to 14,000 Johnson Countians in need of items this year.
- This includes 1,300 requests from senior citizens this year, which already surpasses the total of 900 senior citizens that the Christmas Bureau served last year.
- More than 3,500 volunteers have already signed up to help this year.
In their own words: “We want to make sure that our shoppers are able to shop with dignity,” Kimbrough said. “We allow our less fortunate (Johnson Countians) to be able to feel that they are worthy and that people care about them — that people see them and they want to help.”