Some gifts don’t need wrapping.
Holiday shopping is taking a charitable turn with a new store in Rochester’s Apache Mall.
On Black Friday last week, the local Red Cross office opened its own store in the Apache Mall.
“It is not selling items you might think of from Red Cross,” says Melanie Tschida, the executive director of the Red Cross’ Southeast Minnesota office in Rochester. “There aren’t first aid kits or anything like that.”
But there is plenty for people to buy … sort of.
For $60, shoppers can get 10 blankets. A comfort kit for an injured military person costs $50. The price for emergency water containers is $30.
None of those items can be directly picked up at the Red Cross store. Product tags representing those things as well, as a full day of emergency shelter, can be purchased at the store. Tags representing donations ranging from $10 to $100 are available.
Basically, a donation can be made to the Red Cross, and the donor gets a tag representing what the Red Cross can do with that amount.
”They are a lot of people on our holiday gift lists that don't need anything else,” Tschida says.
The Red Cross tags are a way to make a donation in someone’s name and show them what that money can do to help others.
She says the store at Apache Mall, which is staffed during the mall’s regular hours, is part of a pilot program. There are four such stores in Minnesota.
“It is a new concept,” Tschida says. Besides making donations for tags in the stores, people can also do so online and through a print catalog published by the Red Cross.