Baldwin Baldwin churches are getting into the Santa business this year.
Ira DeSpain, Baker University minister, said the Baldwin Ministerial Assn. is taking donations of clothing and toys for a holiday thrift store it plans to open next month at the Assembly of God Church, Fifth and Baker.
"It's a place where people who are unable to provide Christmas gifts for their family can come in and buy them for a nominal price," DeSpain said.
Organizers will take donations until Dec. 5 at the First United, Ives Chapel and Worden United Methodist churches, at Annunciation Catholic Church and at DeSpain's office at Baker. Residents also may drop off items at Baldwin schools and, on Dec. 5 only, at the Assembly of God Church.
DeSpain said organizers preferred that donors bring new items.
"We didn't just want somebody's old leisure suit," he said.
Celia Boyne-Schuh, elementary school social worker in the Baldwin school district, said the store was part of a communitywide effort to help Baldwin families at Christmas.
In conjunction with the store, volunteers in the Baldwin Community Emergency Fund are providing meat coupons for Thanksgiving meals and Christmas food baskets to families. Boyne-Schuh is helping coordinate the activities.
The store will be open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 9 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 10.
Boyne-Schuh said organizers hadn't set criteria to determine who could shop at the store.
"But what we want to stress is that this is for families who are having a difficult time this holiday season," she said. "We're just hoping that people will be real honest."