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Mathews Christmas Store a dream come true for many residents

It all started in a small room where residents in need could come pick up some used clothing for the holidays. Twenty-five years later, the Mathews Christmas Store has turned into a dream come true for many residents unable to purchase gifts this season.

"We think we are going to at least equal last year," said Peggy Hudgins, longtime coordinator of the two-day event, which took place at the Kingston Parish House Friday and Saturday. The store, sponsored each year by the Mathews Department of Social Services, served 485 people in 2011.

Hudgins said she receives donations from individuals and businesses throughout the year and also applies for grants to purchase the items that are put into the store. "I shop all year," she said, placing the items for safe keeping in the upstairs of the social services building.

Those who are eligible to shop at the store receive 30 points per person in their family that they are shopping for. Hudgins and her 75-plus volunteers then mark each ite...

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