Utahns who are struggling can still have a happy holiday experience, thanks to the Candy Cane Corner store.
The store — in the old Barnes Bank building at 431 S. 300 East in Salt Lake City — is stocked with new toys, clothing and housewares that are donated by community members.
Low-income people who are participating in programs at The Road Home, Volunteers of America, Utah, and the YWCA can select gifts for their children and themselves at the holiday store and wrap them there.
The organizations’ clients, including adults without children, are given vouchers and shop with their caseworker. Many of the people are dealing with homelessness, violence or drug addiction, and their children also struggle — especially when they go back to school, where their classmates are talking about what they got for Christmas, according to the Candy Cane Corner organizations.
Volunteers set up and run Candy Cane Corner, which has been helping people in need celebrate the holidays for more than 20 years.
“It took almost a week this year and hundreds of volunteers to set up,” Yen Nguyen, of the YWCA, said, adding that the goal is to look like a store.
Candy Cane Corner opened its doors to the clients on Dec. 1, and already has assisted more than 100 families, according to Nguyen. She said the store helped more than 3,000 people last year, including about 1,800 children.
Donations of new and unwrapped items are being accepted at the store Monday through Friday from noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. through Dec. 23. Cash donations will be used to purchase needed items.
Nguyen said the store is low on household items such as pots and pans and small appliances; men and women’s coats and clothing; and clothing, accessories and gift cards for teens.
For a complete Candy Cane Corner wish list, visit www.candycanecornerslc.org.
In addition to the store, Volunteers of America, Utah is collecting items for homeless teens and young people with the help of The Salt Lake Tribune and Mark Miller Subaru.
Donations are being accepted Friday and Dec. 15 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the nonprofit VOA Youth Resource Center, 888 S. 400 West, in Salt Lake City.
The center — which provides emergency overnight shelter and other services to youth ages 15 to 22 — needs cash, warm clothing and blankets. The donations are tax deductible.
Other needed items include gift cards for fast food restaurants and grocery stores; bus token; new winter boots and new underwear for men and women; new socks, various sizes; sleeping bags; travel size toiletries; laundry pods; earbuds; and baby wipes and diapers, size 5 and 6
VOA also has set up an Amazon Holiday Wish List Registry at https://www.voaut.org/holidaydonations.
You can enter a drawing for prizes provided by The Tribune and Mark Miller Subaru. Although a donation is not required, it’s greatly appreciated. Those prizes include Row 1 Jazz tickets; a ski package; movie tickets; lunch with Tribune humor columnist Robert Kirby; and a print from Tribune cartoonist Pat Bagley.