On Saturday Dec. 1, members of the Rotary Club of Spring Hill and the Springstead High School Interact Club took twelve elementary school children on a shopping spree. The children, ages 6 to 9 who are members of the Boys and Girls Club of Hernando County are selected by Rotary on the basis of need. Rotarians, students and parents met at the Target on U.S. 19 in Spring Hill.
While the parents enjoyed coffee and snacks, courtesy of Target, the children wheeled shopping carts around the store picking out gifts. Each child had a budget of $100. With help and advice from the Rotarians and the older high school students, the children picked out gifts for mom, dad and other relatives, along with a present for themselves.
Rotary Club Member Carol McElroy explained, “Each child comes to the event with a parent assisted shopping list – which includes sizes and wants/needs for their siblings. We help the child budget the funds so that we can put as much as possible under their tree, making sure that everyone in the household will have a gift.”
The event was coordinated by Lisa Leverence, Human Resources Team Member at Target; Rotary Club of Spring Hill member Mary Sports; and Brian McNamee, Winding Waters Unit Director of the Boys and Girls Club. All of the children who participated attend Boys and Girls Club before and after school.
For Charles Snell, “My favorite part of the day was going to Target for the very first time.”
Nine-year-old Hallie Massie stated, “I liked shopping for my family.”
The Rotary Club of Spring Hill raises the money for these type of events through various fund-raising activities throughout the year, as well as donations from individual members. They have been doing the Holiday Kids Shop program for more than ten years. During this period the club has served more than one hundred children.
After the children went through the check out and paid for the gifts, the Rotarians took the presents to Westside Elementary School where they met the children and their parents. Then, while the parents waited in another room (No peeking allowed), the children wrapped and put gift tags on the presents.
Jayden DeFrancesco said, “This was my favorite part!”
One mother stated that, this had been a very difficult year financially. The shopping spree had special meaning for this particular family.
Many of the children were just as excited to be picking out gifts for their parents, siblings and other family members as they were to be choosing their own presents. Perhaps this was an early lesson in the maxim that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”