• Kelly Luttinen

Helping Detroit Parents Give Their Children a Merry Christmas



Seeing the joy on the face of a child Christmas morning is one of the blessings parents look forward to all year. Unfortunately, many cannot afford to give gifts to their children.


A new initiative called the Holy Family Christmas Store is helping to address 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 for struggling parents so they can give presents to their children. This is the second year for the store, started by a priest in the Archdiocese of Detroit, Fr. Marko Djonovic, along with his friend and volunteer, Trina Martell.



Trina Martell (front), who founded the Holy Family Christmas Store with Fr. Marko Djonovic, works with another volunteer.

Djonovic is no stranger to serving people in need. He also founded the Better Way Detroit program, which helps the homeless in Detroit find meaningful work. He explains why he and Martell chose to name the store after the Holy Family. “If you look early on to the life of the Holy Family, you see that St. Joseph was unemployed,” he 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.”


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.”


The Holy Family Christmas Store aims to provide parents and their children with an enjoyable Christmas experience. All gifts are sold to parents at reduced prices. (They can pay whatever they can afford.) While parents shop, their children can participate in arts and crafts activities, enjoy sweets and hot chocolate, and even take pictures with Santa Claus!


Fr. Marko Djonovic poses with Santa and the Holy Family outside the Christmas store.

Recently, Djonovic was assigned to serve as administrator for the Detroit parish St. Moses the Black. Despite his new responsibilities, he intends to continue his involvement with his outside ministries. But he admits he needs lots of help.


He is looking for anyone interested in volunteering to work at the Christmas store on December 21 and 22 (as well as other dates, as needed) to serve as greeters, clerks, shopping guides, and gift wrappers. He is also accepting donations 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. Financial donations are also accepted. More information is detailed in a video about the Christmas store here. To contact Djonovic, send him an email as holyfamilychristmasstore@gmail.com.

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After working in public relations and journalism for a few decades, I am hanging out my freelance shingle, writing about worthy people and telling stories worth telling.

 

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