After hearing that a variety store would be going out of business, a New Jersey mom spent more than $10,000 to buy over 3,000 toys and other items to donate to children during the holiday season.
The spirit of giving: Christine Bae’s charitable idea came to her after she took her son and daughter to Flying Tiger Copenhagen, a variety store in Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey, and learned that the business was closing, according to People.
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- In the early fall of last year, Bae and her husband, B.J. Kim, negotiated with the store to buy their entire inventory worth around $10,000.
- It took them several trips from the store to their Norwood home and back in order to transport the more than 3,000 items they bought.
- “I just thought that since they’re going out of business, we might as well make the best of it,” she said, according to North Jersey.
- Bae recalled how her daughter suggested wrapping the gifts to make them look more special while giving them away. Bae then purchased wrapping paper and spent around $1,000 on ribbons to make more than 1,200 toys, pencils and other items look presentable.
- Bae and her family then donated the gifts to a local homeless shelter, a food pantry in Norwood and the nonprofit organization Bergen County Court Appointment Special Advocates (CASA).
- “I received this beautiful letter from CASA about how the kids’ faces were beaming and how we made such a huge difference, and that made me feel great,” Bae said.
- The New Jersey mom shared that around 1,400 gifts were prepared. Around a dozen neighbors lent a helping hand and reportedly wrapped presents for three weeks, spending three to four hours a day for three days each week. “There were some nights we were up until midnight wrapping,” Bae shared.
- Bae also invited children from her neighborhood to her home on Saturday, where she asked them to pick five gifts each. Describing the moment, Bae said the children were “speechless” and did not know what to do with the overwhelming number of presents in front of them.
- Children from The New Jersey Institute for Disabilities in Edison, New Jersey, also received around 1,250 gifts, which staffers retrieved from Bae’s family on Monday., while the remaining toys will be stored and be given away next year.
- Describing the scene she saw while picking up the gifts, Nicole Storino, a development assistant from the institute, claimed it to be “an overwhelming feeling of complete joy that somebody would take their time and be so giving of herself and put the time in to make this happen. To walk in and see that display, it was just an outpouring of love. It was overwhelming.”
Past efforts: Bae and her husband, who both run a law firm in the borough of Fort Lee, have been doing charity work for years now. They reportedly threw a fundraising party “to raise money for an orphanage in Korea and a domestic violence shelter in Bergen County.” They raised $800 in their first year and more than $22,000 in 2019, right before they had to cancel future parties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Featured Image via North Jersey