JoCo Christmas Bureau market saved by last-minute donation

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After an urgent call for help last week, local nonprofit Johnson County Christmas Bureau says it will be able to host its annual holiday shop this December after all.

Driving the news: The local nonprofit announced this week that it had found a commercial space to hold this year’s holiday shop for low-income Johnson Countians, following a months-long search.

Key quote: “I believe that our community steps up for people in need in their time of need, and we have truly seen that this year,” Bureau executive director Nina Kimbrough said. “It absolutely shows the spirit of the holiday season, how people open up their hearts to make sure that our neighbors in need have joy and the things that they need during this time.”

Where exactly: This year, residents can find the Johnson County Christmas Bureau’s holiday shop at 9656 Quivira Road — at a space donated by Kansas City’s Block & Company, Inc., Realtors

  • The market will occupy a 36,838-square foot space at the Orchard Corners Shopping Center, near the Oak Park Mall.
  • The space formerly housed a Stein Mart department store, which closed in 2020.

When it will be: This year’s holiday shop will go from Dec. 2 to Dec. 10, and both shoppers and volunteers can sign up via the Johnson County Christmas Bureau website

Johnson County Christmas Bureau
Above, the former Stein Mart space where this year’s Johnson County Christmas Bureau holiday shop will operate. File photo.

What this means: Johnson County Christmas Bureau officials say they plan to distribute more than $1 million dollars worth of donated goods to approximately 12,000 low-income Johnson Countians.

  • Items include things like toys, gently used winter coats and hats, diapers, books and bicycles.
  • Their inventory is currently stored at 14 storage sites across the county and will now be moved into the former Stein Mart space in the lead-up to the market’s launch next week.

Who can shop: Johnson County residents living below 150% of the poverty level are eligible to shop at the Johnson County Christmas Bureau’s market.

  • The nonprofit is not government funded, and operates almost entirely with volunteers and donations, according to its website.
  • In 2021, the holiday shop gave away 161,600 diapers, 65,000 books, and 6,800 children’s coats, officials said.

What they’re saying: Kimbrough said the community began to respond to the bureau’s need for a space as soon as word got out last week that they were still in need of a space.

  • In some cases, she said this included residents calling phone numbers on the side of vacant buildings and asking about empty spaces themselves.
  • Although the holiday shop now has a space to operate out of, Kimbrough said the bureau is still in need of volunteers for various operational aspects — including setting up the shop, which began this week.

Zooming out: This comes as the nonprofit braces for an increase in demand from both volunteers and the wider community.

  • The bureau expects to serve roughly 12,000 low-income residents this year — a jump up from 10,600 at last year’s pop-up.
  • The Bureau says it has already received more than 1,300 requests from nursing home residents, as well, after serving 900 nursing home residents last year.

About the author

Lucie Krisman
Lucie Krisman

Hi! I’m Lucie Krisman, and I cover local business for the Johnson County Post.

I’m a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, but have been living in Kansas since I moved here to attend KU, where I earned my degree in journalism. Prior to joining the Post, I did work for The Pitch, the Eudora Times, the North Dakota Newspaper Association and KTUL in Tulsa.