Holy Family Christmas Store ensures every parent can buy gifts for their kids (VIDEO)

Brainchild of Fr. Marko Djonovic, Detroit ministry in need of volunteers and gift donations ahead of Christmas season

DETROIT — The joy on the face of a child on Christmas morning is a blessing parents look forward to all year. Unfortunately, many parents cannot afford to give the gifts that bring about that joyful delight.

The Holy Family Christmas Store is addressing this problem. Located in the old convent behind Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, 71 Edsel Ford Road in Detroit, the Christmas store provides affordable gifts so parents can treat their children even when money is tight.

This is the second year for the store, started by Fr. Marko Djonovic and his friend and volunteer, Trina Martell.

Fr. Djonovic is no stranger to serving people in need. He also founded the Better Way Detroit program, which helps the homeless find meaningful work. In the area’s disadvantaged, he sees familiar faces.

“If you look early on to the life of the Holy Family, you see that St. Joseph was unemployed,” Fr. Djonovic said. “They were refugees. So St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother can sympathize with parents who struggle to provide for their children during Christmas and year round.”

Fr. Djonovic believes letting parents purchase gifts for their children helps them fulfill their proper role.

“Interiorly, all parents have a desire to provide for their children,” he said. “Through this Holy Family Christmas store, we are going to give parents an opportunity to do just that. And we hope and pray it will increase their joy, peace and self-esteem.”

Trina Martell volunteers last year at the Holy Family Christmas Store in Detroit. The store will be open Dec. 21 and 22 in the former convent behind Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Detroit's Midtown.

The store will be open Dec. 21 and 22. All gifts are sold at reduced prices; parents pay whatever they can afford. And while parents shop, children can participate in arts and crafts, enjoy sweets and hot chocolate and even take pictures with Santa Claus.

Recently, Fr. Djonovic was assigned to serve as administrator of St. Moses the Black Parish in Detroit. Even with his new responsibilities, he intends to continue his involvement with his outside ministries. But he needs lots of help.

Fr. Djonovic is looking for volunteers to work at the Christmas store, especially Dec. 21 and 22, to serve as greeters, clerks, shopping guides and gift wrappers. He is also accepting donations of new items for the store to stock its shelves. The item most needed is clothing for children, sizes infant to age 17. The store also needs toys, games and books, and financial donations are gratefully accepted.

More information is detailed in this video about the Christmas store. To contact Fr. Djonovic, email him at [email protected]