‘It won’t work’: Montgomery County Christmas Store to change due to COVID-19

Nonprofit gives $15,000 to area food banks while searching for a social distancing solution

Montgomery County Christmas Store changing the way it operates due to COVID-19
Montgomery County Christmas Store changing the way it operates due to COVID-19

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – The COVID-19 outbreak is already affecting local Christmas plans.

The Montgomery County Christmas Store, a nonprofit that gives gifts to families in need during the holidays, will not operate as usual this holiday season. The organization normally allows people to come in to their Christiansburg store and pick out their own gifts, but that will not happen this year because of social distancing.

Since the holidays are still months away, board members decided to help the less fortunate right now. The board decided to loan its food supply to the Montgomery County Emergency Assistance Program (MCEAP) and split a $15,000 donation between MCEAP, the Blacksburg Interfaith Food Pantry and the Giving Tree Food Pantry in Christiansburg.

Terri Lynn Howard of Montgomery County Christmas Store said the organization wanted to do whatever they could to help the community, since their normal way of helping will be transformed.

“The store week was supposed to be the first week of December, which is real close to Thanksgiving. It’s going to change," said Howard. "It has to change. We can’t have thousands of volunteers there and thousands of low-income people shopping. It won’t work.”

Howard said the change was spurred because many of the store’s customers are elderly. She said the store’s operation will change regardless of if COVID-19 cases decrease by the holidays.