This weekend, for many needy families, the Vienna Presbyterian Church will transform into a Christmas Store, filled with donated toys, bikes, clothes, gift cards for teams and cards loaded with money to use at local grocery stores.
The event is one the Committee for Helping Others (CHO) puts together every year.
In the beginning, CHO began just giving out meals to families that needed them during the holidays. But the event has grown to include bikes, toys and other Christmas gifts to kids and their families who need them, from Vienna and other parts of Fairfax County.
Last year, the program broke records: A total of 419 kids, 80 of whom were teenagers, were given bikes, helmets, toys, gift cards, clothing and food. In all, 125 families came to the church throughout the day for assistance.
This year, local elementary schools have teamed up with CHO to collect more than 80 bikes for local families, which will be part of the "Christmas Store" at this weekend's event.
But the real magic is in how volunteers pull it all together. As the event approaches, the organization still needs some help tying loose ends to make the weekend a success, CHO's Dan Larkins said.
If you're in the giving spirit, of money or of time, there are a few ways to help out, Larkins said:
1. Volunteer to help with Christmas "Store" setup, 9:30 p.m. Friday
2. Volunteers to escort families through the Christmas "Store," 8:30 a.m. Saturday
3. Donations of new toys, ages 1-12, and gift cards for teens.
4. Donations of food cards for families and coats and jackets.
Donors or volunteers should call Carolyn Mysel with questions or to sign up at 703-938-7213.