The Christian Center of Park City is giving local residents the chance to help underprivileged families this holiday season. Operation Hope is back serving both Park City and Heber.
Rob Harter, Executive Director of Christian Center of Park City, explains that Operation Hope, now in its eighth year, helps underprivileged families with gifts for Christmas.
“Last year we served over 1,500 local kids both Heber and Park City.” Harter said, “We had a toy store. What that is, people from the community buy all these gifts, or if they’re not brand new at least they’re unwrapped. They bring them to the store and then the parents can come, and they actually can select the toys they want for their children. We switched to a toy store concept about five years ago. The idea would be that it’s just more empowering. Who knows better what their kids want than their parents? Their parents can choose exactly what they want. It’s a great volunteer opportunity you get to meet a ton of great people from the community, so it’s a special special event.”
You can visit the Operation Hope page on the Christian Center’s website for an idea of what toys would be a good purchase. Harter explains how they find the families for the program.
“So, we work really closely with the schools.” Harter explained, “We had a sign up about a month and a half ago and so really its open to everybody, but we just work really close with the schools who know these families that really are in need. They make sure that those families know about the sign up. As I mentioned we’ll probably have about 500 families get involved and it turns out to be about 1,500 kids.”
Harter explains how they expanded over into Heber.
“Some community members said this is a fantastic program, we’d like to do it in Heber not just in Park City.” Harter continued, “So we’re going to do it on the 19th in Park City at Saint Mary’s. Then on the 21st on Friday we’re going to Mt. Timpanogos Middle School and we’re going to offer it to Heber. The community has really rallied around it. Not only will there be a toy store just like we normally do, but they’re going to actually have hot meals that they’ve already put together. They’re going to serve the families that come to go to the toy store. So, it’s like a full experience that day.”
The Christian Center reports that they do not need any more volunteers for the 19th in Park City but could use more volunteers for the 21st in Heber. You can still continue to bring gifts to donate through Friday December 14th.
“Bring gifts to the Christian Center.” Harter said, “You may see some Operation Hope boxes around town. There’s about 12 locations throughout town restaurants and different places around town. So, you can just put them in that big box that says operation hope, or the best is just to drop if off at the Christian Center. We’d love to record your gift and thank you for what you’ve done. We’re taking them through next Friday, that’s the end date.”