Luna’s Groceries is looking to give away hundreds of gifts and books to children that live in the Allied/Dunn’s Marsh neighborhood in Southwest Madison this holiday season. With less than a week left until Christmas, Joe and Mariam Maldonado, owners of Luna’s Groceries, are inviting the community to help give back this season through Luna’s Groceries’ 3rd Annual Christmas Toy Giveaway.
“This was Mariam’s brainchild. She just wanted to give back to the neighborhood,” Joe Maldonado tells Madison365. “It’s something we have been doing for a couple of years now. Our customers sign up when they come in and then between Christmas and New Year’s, we distribute the gifts to the kids who have signed up.”
Luna’s Groceries opened in 2019 to serve a community that had been a food desert in the Allied Drive neighborhood for many years on Madison’s Southwest Side. The grocery store has become an important part of the community since then and has engaged the surrounding neighborhood in a variety of ways including annual block parties and holiday toy giveaways.
“The first year that we did the toy giveaway at Luna’s, it was very successful and then the second year we got way more donations so we were able to give away more gifts,” Joe Maldonado says. “This year, we are hoping to do even more.”
Maldonado adds that they are looking for male, female, and gender-neutral gifts for kids from birth all the way up to age 17.
“We’re just asking that people bring gifts to the store during our business hours between now and the 23rd and we’re open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m,” he says. “And on Dec. 24, we’re looking for volunteers to help us sort gifts. On the 25th, we’re looking for volunteers to be able to give out gifts.”
On both of those days, Christmas and Christmas Eve, Luna’s Groceries will be open from 9 a.m-5 p.m. Community members interested in volunteering for one-hour time slots can click here.
Beyond the gifts, Luna’s also gives out books from donations from the Madison Reading Project.
Luna’s is located at 2010 Red Arrow Trail, Madison, WI, 53711. Gifts are especially important this year, with many families facing the effects from the COVID pandemic and high inflation.
“Times are especially tough so that makes this toy giveaway even more special,” Maldonado says.
“For the past couple of years, Mariam has been making me hand out the presents on Christmas morning and normally I would just want to be at home,” he adds. “But it has actually been such a really good feeling to get up and take my own kids with me to give presents to other people. It’s an unexpected reward that is very powerful – the act of handing out the presents and just being around people, and being in community… It’s pretty special.”
For more information about Luna’s Groceries Annual Christmas Toy Giveaway, reach out to Joe Maldonado at [email protected]