Area non-profit provides ‘Hope for the Holidays’

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We are just days from Christmas, and many are scrambling to get their holiday shopping done. While most are shopping for loved ones, a local non-profit is shopping for people they’ve never met.

Brian and Sarah Ingram started Give Hope MN back in 2019, just before the pandemic hit. The couple owns Hope Breakfast Bar, The Gnome and several other restaurants around the metro. Through their “Hope for the Holidays” campaign, people can donate to sponsor families for Christmas.

They partnered with the St. Paul School District to buy gifts for families in need after community members nominated families online. 100% of the money raised went to provide Christmas gifts and necessities for the families.

“When we get a hundred requests and most of them are for groceries and gas cards, that really shows you the need. They’re not asking these frivolous or fun things, they’re asking for real basic needs,” Brian Ingram said.

He, Sarah and several of their employees spent all of last week shopping for families. This is their 3rd year shopping for gifts and when they first started, they only had four families to sponsor. This year, they have 100 – and received more than $50,000 in community donations to make it all possible.

“The coolest thing about what we’re doing is it’s not coming from Give Hope, it’s not coming from Sarah and I. It’s coming from their mom and dad. They might not know at all and hopefully they don’t know at all it had anything do with us,” Ingram said.

Shayna Lawson works for the Ingram’s at Hope Breakfast Bar. She’s been working there since the restaurant opened in 2019. This year, she’s giving her time to shop for families.

“It’s emotional. It touches a place in my heart that I don’t really know how to explain,” Lawson said.

For her, shopping for families in need is personal, because as a child her family had to rely on help over the holidays.

“My mom always made it happen but obviously things like Toys for Tots and she had to do things like asking for help like these parents are doing,” Lawson said, “I think it takes a lot to ask for help so being able to be the help now really means a lot to me.”

The Ingrams said it means just as much to them to be able to give back.

“It’s an amazing feeling but it’s almost like greedy because I get to feel so good doing it. It’s so crazy for me because we get so much pleasure from it,” Ingram said.