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Hundreds of families will have a happier Christmas thanks to Better Balance for Long Beach (BBLB), the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Long Beach Neighborhood Foundation and volunteers who will set up the One Day Christmas Store – Shopping with Dignity in the Seaside Rooms at the Convention Center. While BBLB and their partners have been providing the free shopping experience for local families for the past nine years, this will be just the third year the free shopping experience has been held at the Convention Center.

On Saturday, December 19 at 11:00AM, families who would otherwise not be able to afford a traditional Christmas shopping experience will be able to choose gifts for their family members at no charge. A team of volunteer shoppers leveraged the donors’ dollars by buying brand new gifts at wholesale cost, according to the release, to stock the stores with multiples of every gift from which to choose.

“This event creates lasting, happy Christmas memories for families who, without the help of the Store, might not have any Christmas presents this year,” said BBLB member Jack Smith in a statement. “It’s a festive, fun and heartwarming day for all the donors, volunteers and families. We all look forward to this event every year.”

Families come by invitation and appointment and are assisted by 150 volunteer Elves, according to the release. This year, BBLB invited 200 families to shop. After they have chosen their gifts, all the items are wrapped and Yellow Cab gives free rides to the families who need a little extra assistance transporting their gifts to home.

In 2011, Neighborhoods USA awarded BBLB the grand prize as Neighborhood of the Year for the project. For more information about the store and event, visit the BBLB Facebook page here.

Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her @hugelandmass on Twitter and Instagram and at [email protected].