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Christmas is more than a month away, and some elves are already hard at work.

Volunteers are donating their time, energy and talents to preparing this year’s GRACE Christmas Cottage. The cottage will provide Christmas presents to families who are faced with financial challenges in a private, store-like setting.

“I have the best job ever because I get to work with the best people,” said GRACE Christmas Cottage Coordinator Lori Stevens. “We have a core group of volunteers that never leave my side because they love bringing joy to families. We want to make wishes come true.”

This year’s Christmas Cottage is expected to touch the lives of more than 600 families with more than 1,600 children who live in the Grapevine, Colleyville and Southlake area.

“We’re thrilled with our volunteer and donor support for the Christmas Cottage,” said Shonda Schaefer, executive director of GRACE. “However, we are concerned because we are reaching about 400 more kids than last year. We’re looking to the community to step up and help.”

GRACE is asking volunteers and supporters to donate new and unwrapped toys and gifts for children and teens, small appliances and gift cards for parents, wrapping paper, tape, bows, batteries and more. The Christmas Cottage also needs fresh baked cookies, as they expect to go through six dozen cookies a day.

The Christmas Cottage will be open Friday, Dec. 7 through Thursday, Dec. 20. Parents register for the cottage with a GRACE caseworker and are given an appointment to shop. The parents will receive a voucher with a dollar amount based on the age of each child in their family.

Two volunteers are expected to assist every client with shopping needs. GRACE is requesting some volunteers who can speak both English and Spanish.

If you are interested in donating, bring your contributions to the Christmas Cottage at 2845 Exchange Blvd., Suite 300 in Southlake.

To find out how you can help with volunteer opportunities, contact Lori Stevens at 817-488-7009 ext.329 or email