Mercy Mall, a charitable cooperative housed in units at three Richmond, Va., self-storage facilities, will hold a special event on Dec. 21 during which parents in need can pick out gifts for their children free of charge. Participants can “shop” for new and used toys, gifts for teens, stockings and stocking stuffers, food, and clothing for the holidays. Volunteers will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to wrap presents.
The nonprofit organization runs year-round, providing free goods to those in need. The “mall” is housed in storage units and offers nonperishable food, clothing, laundry detergent, baby-care equipment, household goods, and health-and-beauty items.
One Mercy Mall location is in Henrico County at Laburnum Racetrack Self Storage, 1400 E. Laburnum Ave. in Richmond. The other two are in Chesterfield County at Uncle Bob’s Self Storage, 3830 N. Bailey Bridge Road in Midlothian, Va., and Walthall Self Storage, 14324 Jefferson Davis Highway in Chester, Va. The Walthall location is the organization’s largest, housing charitable goods in about 1,500 square feet of space.
Items at all three facilities are available on an honor system without rigorous screening. “We’re here for people who slip through the cracks,” said Stacey Jones, Mercy Mall’s founder.
Families who have been helped by the charity often return to donate items of their own when they are back on their feet, Jones said. “That’s just beautiful to see someone we helped coming back to help others,” she said.
Mercy Mall is a subsidiary of Grace Home Ministries, a local non-denominational, faith-based, nonprofit dedicated to helping young women with unplanned pregnancies. The group provides safe shelter, nutritious meals, counseling services and life-skills training, and facilitates prenatal care.