Meaghan Mackey developed a Black Friday plan of attack by looking at newspaper ads after Thanksgiving dinner.
And so, at 11:30 p.m. Thursday, the 25-year-old Albany resident stood in the cold outside Kohl’s with 250 other soon-to-be shoppers.
But Mackey wasn’t purchasing Christmas gifts for family or friends.
For the past 15 years, she and her relatives have spent their own money on Black Friday to buy presents for a family in need.
The shopping is part of Adopt-a-Family, a program run by Community Outreach, Inc., a Corvallis-based nonprofit agency.
“We get everything they need, some things they want and then more,” Mackey said. “We know one family at Christmas gets the most amazing memories.”
The philanthropic activity is a way to indulge in the madness of Black Friday without feeling guilty, said her boyfriend, Mike Elsbury.
“You get to go shopping and get to go crazy, but none of it’s for you,” he added.
Linda Krygier of Philomath, Mackey’s mother, said they started participating in Adopt-a-Family after a Christmas where her own family got spoiled by gifts.
“It was too much,” Mackey said.
Paul DuBois, Community Outreach community services coordinator, said that 300 children received gifts last year through the Adopt-a-Family program.
“Usually they get an item of clothing and a toy for each child,” DuBois said. “It’s definitely of help. Many of the parents are single mothers, are unemployed, and the holidays are tough times for a lot of people.”
Mackey’s family knew they were doing a good deed, but there also was the thrill of competitive shopping.
Their main strategy was to divide and shop hard.
“Somebody goes to the coats, somebody goes to the toys,” and another person quickly gets in line, Mackey said.
“You see it and you grab it,” she added.
Other family members were at Target waiting to purchase items as Mackey, her mom and Elsbury prepared to enter Kohl’s.
They planned to start wrapping gifts when they got done with shopping.
At about noon.
They took a little nap before hitting Fred Meyer at 5 a.m., but the family was running mostly on Dutch Bros., not sleep.
Community Outreach still needs donors for the Adopt-a-Family program. For more information, call 541-758-3000 or go to communityoutreachinc.org.
Families looking to receive gifts should visit the nonprofit at 865 N.W. Reiman Ave. in Corvallis.