With a hint of Christmas shopping excitement, the first person in line at The Church of St. Benedict in Broken Arrow last Thursday arrived at 1 p.m. for a Gift Gallery sponsored by Broken Arrow Neighbors — BAN.
Kim Goddard, executive director of BAN, explained that the event was to start at 4 p.m. with the newest BAN clients shopping 4 to 5 p.m., and those who had been with BAN longer shopping 5 to 6 p.m.
Volunteers spent the whole day dividing the rooms into specific areas to make shopping as easy as possible.
Shoppers were allowed three gifts per child, one bicycle per family, a bicycle counting as two gifts. There were also games available for the families as well as stocking stuffers.
Eighth grade students from All Saints Catholic School arrived early to learn how to be tour guides, carrying large shopping bags for the clients as well as pointing out where they would find what they were looking for.
There were 41 Christmas trees which had been donated by the Broken Arrow Historical Society following a Christmas tree exhibit the historical society had sponsored earlier. The first 41 BAN clients to arrive were given a number and could choose one of the decorated trees.
BAN served 2,587 individuals, 734 families with meals and gifts in 2013. This year 348 children were helped with the Gift Gallery.
The toys and wrapping essentials were collected from businesses and churches in the Broken Arrow community. Goddard said Aubrey Meyers alone donated 40 bicycles. Normally at the businesses annual Christmas party they bought gifts for the spouses of the employees. This year they decided to donate to BAN instead.
The shopping trip was for infants to children age 12.