Volunteers prepare Salt Lake City's Candy Cane Corner store
It's not so easy to stock a store in a few hours' time.
But it helps when professional organizers get involved, and that's what happened Saturday as the 19th annual Candy Cane Corner came together in a warehouse in Salt Lake City.
Individuals, families and businesses donate tens of thousands of dollars worth of new clothing, coats, housewares and toys, and case managers from the three agencies bring their adult clients to shop for gifts and essentials.
Candy Cane Corner is in a different donated space each year; this year, it's in a warehouse off Redwood Road, donated by Freeport West Industrial Properties.
That means, though, that the store has to be re-created each time.
It took 20 volunteers several hours on Saturday to assemble the shelves and tables and to display everything from baby dolls to microwave ovens. More goods will continue to flow into the store throughout the season.
Three of the volunteers Saturday were from the nonprofit Utah Professional Organizers, and they made a big difference, said the YWCA's Yen Nguyen.
"They're helping us out tremendously," Nguyen said. "They've saved us a lot of time."
She and Wendy Brown, one of the professional organizers, mapped out a plan so there will be a "nice flow" for the shoppers, Brown said.
"We want it to be a smooth, pleasant experience," she said.
Men's and women's clothing is immediately in front of shoppers, and toys for children are a bit farther into the store.
"It would look like a store if it wasn't a warehouse," Nguyen said.
The store last year served 548 families composed of 2,000 people, she said.
Rowland Hall students Donovan Murphy and Max Milavetz, both 15, were among the volunteers Saturday. They assembled shelves and sorted toys and were gift-wrapping big display boxes.
"We just thought this was a great opportunity to work," Milavetz said.
Sophomores at the private school are required to donate six hours of volunteer time to the YWCA, and they planned six-hour shifts on Saturday.
"It feels great," said Murphy.
Donate to Candy Cane Corner
I The 19th annual Candy Cane Corner will open Monday and run through Dec. 23, from noon to 7 p.m. weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. weekends, in a warehouse at 1812 S. Empire Road, Suite G, in Salt Lake City.
The public is encouraged to donate new clothing, blankets, toys or cash for Candy Cane Corner, but the store is especially in need of socks and underwear, said Yen Nguyen of the YWCA. Donations can be dropped off at the above address during the open hours, or at The Road Home, 210 Rio Grande St. (455 West), Salt Lake City, and YWCA Utah, 322 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City. For the first time, cash donations also can be made online at http://www.candycanecornerslc.org.
Hundreds of volunteers run the store, and all of the shifts are already covered, Nguyen said.