The Christmas Experience is an annual event ministry that supports parents in Indianapolis and surrounding cities during the Christmas season in order to help them to help their families.
Parents in need complete an online application and, if approved, are invited to “shop” free of charge from a fully stocked store carrying brand new toys, coats and shoes. Guests also have access to a complete food pantry (providing basic needs and holiday meals), as well as free resources such as haircuts, family photos, financial counselors, child support services representatives, resume and job-hunting guidance, and other community resources that can assist them through this difficult time in their lives.
The ultimate goal of the Christmas Experience is for parents and their children to maintain their dignity while experiencing the true meaning of Christmas.
The goal of the Christmas Experience team is help to create a more stable, healthy community by connecting families to available resources and to help make a long-term difference in their lives, helping to position them for success. The team will do this by developing ongoing partnerships with local businesses, and by hosting annual fundraisers to fund the event.
Get In Touch With Us!
Have questions? Want to partner with us, or learn more about how The Christmas Experience helps children and families across Indianapolis? Fill out the quick form below!
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Potential guests of the Christmas Experience are asked to complete an online application and answer detailed questions about the family’s financial needs. Applicants are then prioritized by most dire need. Many guests are also referrals from school counselors, church members, community colleges, east side school districts, local jails, the police academy, and community trustees.
How are Christmas Experience "guests" selected?
Guests of the Christmas Experience are given the opportunity to pick out approximately 4 toys based on the children’s interests, equivalent to approximately $100 per child. Guests also have the option to pick out a new pair of shoes and coat for each child under the age of 12.
How does the event work?
Items available at the Christmas Experience "store" are either donated or purchased by the team using donated funds. The team has secured charitable discounts at many retailers, and purchases in quantity wherever possible.
How do we acquire "store merchandise?"
The event is funded solely through donations from Church 52 members, local business sponsorships, and organized fundraisers such as a 5K run and motorcycle benefit rides.
How is the event funded?
Guests are not permitted to attend the Christmas Experience more than twice, due to the team’s commitment to empowering families, rather than enabling them.
Can Christmas Experience "guests" attend more than once?
Our Immediate Needs
We estimate that approximately 2,000 square feet of storage space will be needed to store Christmas Experience gifts and items we receive throughout the year.
Toys, coats & shoes
Our capacity to serve children and families in our community is contingent upon the quantity items available. We aim to grow our program each year and, because of that, donations of toys, coats and shoes are always in demand!
We use monetary donations to make sure we're well stocked and can replenish core items that we need to ensure the Christmas Experience is successful each year.
Ways To Give
There are many ways you can help to ensure our Christmas Experience store remains stocked and ready to serve our Indianapolis children and families in need. Below you will find our easy giving options and select the option that works best for you!
You'll be redirected to our affiliated 501c3 organization (Church 52). Please make sure to select "Christmas Experience Donation" from the dropdown, so they know where to send your tax deductible contribution.
Text To Give
Simply use your mobile device to text the amount you'd like to donate and the letters "CE" to 84321 to make your donation! (ex. "100CE")
Donate A Toy From Our Amazon Wishlist
While we will happily accept any toy donations for Christmas Experience, we do maintain an Amazon Wishlist for the most popular toys we prefer to stock in the Christmas Experience store. Browse our list and have your toy purchase sent directly to us!