By the end of October 2020, public gatherings due to the pandemic were increasingly restricted.  Offices, schools, holiday parties were places we had successfully collected toys for The Miracle Shop in the past.  Anxiety rose as we wondered how we might manage in social isolation. All this at a time when we knew the need was going to be great. 
Turns out, we worried needlessly….. Our Golden Rotary Club, Goldenites, and those in surrounding areas came through in an amazing and overwhelming burst of action and generosity!  Using social media and word of mouth, The Miracle Shop exploded.  From the Snowman event in June to the Candy Cane collection in December, neighborhood toy drives, the fulfillment of wishes on our website, to monetary donations turned into merchandise by fabulous shoppers, the number of toys grew quickly … even Santa was jealous! 
We can’t thank you enough for your donations and your efforts to let others know about The Miracle Shop.  During the holidays, there are so many opportunities to give and you might wonder if the contributions and efforts you made were of any consequence.  In this instance, the answer is a solid yes.  And here are a few reasons why……….
First, The Miracle Shop is unique.  It is a store where those who need a little help can come, choose toys for their children and pay what they can.  A few examples tell the story best:
One of the first customers this year was a young woman who explained that she and her husband were both out of work due to the pandemic.  They laid awake at night wondering how they were going to keep their house let alone provide a Christmas for their two kids.  The shock as she looked around The Miracle Shop and saw the abundance of merchandise was visible on her face.   She was handed a bag and told to fill it with what would make a happy holiday for her children.  She was overwhelmed.  And then, she saw the bikes…. She told us when the weather had been warmer her son had loved riding his bike.  But, it had just been stolen, and he was heartbroken.  This young woman left with a bag of toys and a perfect bike for her son.  The only thing she didn’t get was a big hug from us…..something really missed this year.
That same day another shopper who, when she saw a guitar leaning against the wall, could not believe it was there.  Her son had been asking for a guitar for months but she had told him there just wasn’t enough money for anything like that.  Now she had the chance to surprise him and her joy was just impossible to contain.  It made us laugh….she was so happy. 
A Dad with a two-year-old in his arms, arrived the next day.  He could barely get the words out that it was just the two of them this year for the holidays.  He had no idea what his little one might enjoy.  But, with some help, he left with a bag of toys sure to make his young son happy and hopefully help to heal his heart.
The stories this year were just as you would expect.  Parents/grandparents/guardians are struggling in so many ways.   The little bit of joy you provided them is particularly meaningful.
Here are a few texts written to school staff who suggested The Miracle Shop to their parents:
“I went to the miracle shop this morning and cried!  It was overwhelming and such a blessing.  The kids will have an amazing Christmas!”
“…it was wonderful, it’s the first time we’ve attended an event like this… children are very happy for so many gifts they will have this Christmas.  We can’t believe it.”
“I loved the miracle shop.  Thank you so much for telling me about it.  I bought toys there that I would not have been able to buy at Walmart.  My money went a long way.”
Our best guess is over 500 children will receive gifts chosen just for them this holiday.  Every single toy was sold!  More importantly and completely immeasurable, however, is the joy you brought to families. 
On behalf of all of us at The Miracle Shop, we send a huge and most sincere Thank You.  The Miracle Shop Team and I, personally, wish you a very happy and safe holiday.
Joan Osborne and The Miracle Shop Team
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