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News / Health / Clark County Health

CDM Caregiving Services store is a present in itself

Vancouver nonprofit lets clients pick Christmas gifts

By Nika Bartoo-Smith, Columbian staff reporter
Published: December 21, 2022, 4:59pm
3 Photos
CDM Caregiving Services client Aaron Roth looks over the assortment of presents in the Christmas store with the help of volunteer Diana Schafer. The Christmas store is open for two weeks each December for CDM patients to do their Christmas shopping for free.
CDM Caregiving Services client Aaron Roth looks over the assortment of presents in the Christmas store with the help of volunteer Diana Schafer. The Christmas store is open for two weeks each December for CDM patients to do their Christmas shopping for free. (amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Browsing through the Christmas store at CDM Caregiving Services, Julie Russell found a hand-knitted afghan to give to her mom and dad and a warm scarf for her son this Christmas.

“It’s not easy to get out and get presents, especially in the Christmas season when there’s so many other people out there,” Russell said. “The fact that they have someplace like this just puts a twinkle in your eye and a lot of joy in your heart.”

Russell has been a client at CDM Caregiving Services since 2019. This is the second year she has been able to shop at the Christmas store; it was closed for two seasons during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CDM Caregiving Services has been providing in-home care for seniors and people with disabilities since 1978. The organization also provides adult day services at its McKibbin Center located at 2300 N.E. Andresen Road in Vancouver. Currently, the center serves around 60 clients, according to deputy director Heather Erickson.

The Christmas store has been a tradition at CDM Caregiving Services for more than a decade. For the two weeks leading up to Christmas, a conference room at the center is converted into a store full of donated goods such as hand-knitted items, jewelry, games, kids’ clothes, toys and many other goodies. Each client at CDM Caregiving Services is taken shopping at the store at least once, where they get to choose free gifts for themselves and the people in their lives, according to Diana Schafer, the volunteer who runs the store.

“They have gifts that are on my shopping list that I can choose for my family and my friends that don’t cost me anything,” client Rosita Snead said. “That is a good thing right now because I don’t have any money right now.”

Once the clients choose up to three gifts per visit, Schafer wraps them.

Schafer has been running the Christmas store for the past six years.

“(I love) to see the looks on their faces when they see things that they would never be able to get,” she said.

Though the community does step up and donate to the store, Schafer often keeps it stocked by buying items with her own money, according to Laura Fitzgibbon, activities director at the center.

CDM Caregiving Services accepts donations for the Christmas store year-round, according to Fitzgibbon. To donate, call Heather Erickson at 360-896-9695 or email hjurczak@cdmcaregiving.org.

“The gifts are just incredible,” Russell said. “It means I can still participate in Christmas.”

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Columbian staff reporter