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Candy Cane Corner in Salt Lake City gives to needy families

Published December 4, 2011 1:01 am

Holidays • Candy Cane Corner store has toys, clothing, books.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Tayana Varcas recalls her feelings of joy as she watched her two young daughters unwrap Christmas gifts that she had picked out from rows of toys and warm winter clothing — everything brand new and all donated by strangers.

"In that one moment, nothing else mattered when they opened their presents that someone so nicely gave us," said Varcas, a single mother. "I felt like I had failed my kids, and yet we were able to have a Christmas."

The Varcases are among thousands of individuals and families receiving gifts from the Candy Cane Corner holiday store, which stocks new items for homeless individuals and families in transitional housing in Salt Lake County.

For the past 17 years, individuals and business have donated new toys, books, clothing, shoes, socks and household goods such as blankets, towels, pots and pans. Needy parents in turn, visit the store to pick out items for their children. Volunteers wrap the gifts, which are delivered to the YWCA shelter or Road Home on Christmas Eve.

Families in transitional housing may take their gifts home with them, along with wrapping essentials.

"It gives parents dignity to be able to pick out what their children need," said Michelle Templin, of Volunteers of America, a partner in the program. "Who better knows what children need and want than their own parents?"

Parents aren't forgotten, either.

The Candy Cane Corner store stocks clothing for adults as well as winter hats, gloves and scarves. Items particularly needed are jeans in all sizes. Other items that go fast are women's clothing, particularly size 12 and up. Clothing for teenagers is also in short supply.

The store moves each year, with businesses taking turns donating space. This year, the Salt Lake Redevelopment Agency has donated use of its building, and Candy Cane Corner is located in the former SDI Building, just behind The Road Home at 502 West 300 South in Salt Lake City.

New, unwrapped items and donations are welcome and can be dropped off at the store. Gift cards in increments of $25 also are needed. Checks, made out to Candy Cane Corner, also may be mailed to The Road Home, 210 S. Rio Grande St., Salt Lake City, Utah, 84101.

In late November, volunteers were busy setting up shelves and sorting items, with areas set apart by gender and age.

"Whatever is not used this year will be stored for next year, so nothing is wasted," said Becca Dapaix, the events and marketing manager with The Road Home. "More gifts come in as Christmas approaches, but we also appreciate earlier donations as well."

Salt Lake City volunteer Pat Schulze, who has worked at the store for the past five years, was busy putting toys and books on display.

"Parents are very grateful and appreciative," she said. "It's nice to see the happiness in their faces."

Mindi Menlove and her teenage daughter drove from their home in Payson to sort children's clothing. Menlove learned about the Candy Cane Corner while chatting with a passenger on a recent flight. The man worked at The Road Home in Salt Lake City.

"I especially liked the fact that the parents are able to choose gifts for their own children," she said. "

Last year, Candy Cane Corner helped 645 families celebrate the holidays. More than 1,400 children were given new clothing, shoes and gifts, and 630 adults also received needed items. This year, say sponsors, the need is even greater.

dawn@sltrib.comTwitter@DawnHouseTrib —

Candy Cane Corner holiday store

Each year the store stocks new items for hundreds of needy families. Please do not wrap gifts. Listed below are needed items:

Gifts for all ages and sizes, including clothing, shoes, books, toys and household items.

Donations are being accepted at the store, located at 502 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City.

Checks also may also be mailed to Road Home, 210 S. Rio Grande St., Salt Lake City UT, 84101

Drop-off times are Monday through Friday, noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday or Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

People ages 16 and older are needed to sort donations, wrap gifts and stock the store.

For more information •candycanecornerslc.org






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