Shopping for a cause

First Posted: 12/14/2009

Where is the Hannah Montana stuff? Have you seen any slim pants? Im looking for size three shoes.
These and many more were common phrases at Wal-mart Monday morning as volunteers searched for the perfect items for the Surry County Sheriffs Office toy fund.
After gathering at the front of the store, volunteers from the Sheriffs Office, churches, Surry County Schools and other clubs and organizations grabbed a basket and a paper angel detailing the age of a child, sizes and a couple of toys before setting out through the store on a mission to provide Christmas presents to around 250 county children.
With $100 per child to burn, the volunteers loaded their baskets with shirts, pants, shoes, socks, coats and toys before taking them to one of the designated registers to ring up. Even more volunteers were waiting at the checkouts to bag the items for each child and load them into waiting vehicles ready to deliver.
Some of the staff members at Wal-mart had the chance to help out as well. Since they work at the store, they were able to easily point the shoppers in the right direction in addition to filling their own baskets.
Gina Gwyn, a Wal-mart employee, has been helping out the cause for a number of years and always looks forward to the opportunity.
It just makes you feel good inside knowing that you get to be a part of helping these people have an enjoyable Christmas morning, she said. It makes you feel sad that they need the help but happy at the same time that we can help them. You can give money to the Salvation Army people ringing the bells and you can donate to different places, but with this you actually get to pick out those things that will make that child happy.
In order to fund the toy drive, which truly covers much more than just toys, the Sheriffs Office begins collecting donations in mid-October. The money collected goes to fund the food drive as well as the toy drive for families in the county who need extra assistance.
Its wonderful to be able to help those who are less fortunate. It makes you feel good, said Jo Wilmoth. This is what Christmas means to me is to be able to help people who are less fortunate.
The children who benefit from the toy fund are identified by the social workers in the Surry County School system.
When we started, we had 30 or 40 kids to buy for before the Sheriffs Office got involved. We had eight or 10 people shopping for them for days. Now we have 60 or 70 people shopping and we can get it done in one day, said Bob White, school social worker. It just grows every year and becomes more organized. The volunteers come back from year to year.
This year, volunteers were down to the final eight children to buy for in about two hours.
Its the biggest community effort I know of and it takes everybody coming together to make it work. People keep coming forward with the money, said White.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.

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