Several area children had their Christmas wishes come true on Tuesday when members of RoHo teamed up with volunteers for the annual Christmas Shopping Spree. For the 46th annual event, more than 370 children participated from the Tri-State area.
The event started in 1970 with only five children and has grown to one of the largest Christmas events in the community.
“This is all for the kids and it’s the best community organization I’ve been involved with. There’s so many volunteers and helpers that help to make sure these kids get a good Christmas because they’re not going to get one at home,” said Kevin Barnett, RoHo President.
Bus loads of children filled the Middlesboro Walmart to fulfill their Christmas wish lists, speak with Santa and get a hot meal thanks to donations.
“This is our biggest event of the year and having so many people involved that look forward to helping, it basically runs itself. It’s great to see this all happening,” said Barnett.
Children, such as Powell Valley Elementary School kindergartner Kaitlin Brooks, teamed up with a volunteer to pick out clothing, toys and necessities.
“These kids are not selfish at all. Many of them try to get things for brothers or sisters or their mom or dad,” said Barnett.
Brooks chose a few dolls along with some winter clothing, socks and a new pair of shoes. Many of the toys she picked out were from the Disney hit movie, Frozen. She explained that Frozen is her favorite because she watches that movie with her sister.
Sandy Hensley volunteered with the group for her second year with PVES. She was in charge of the shopping cart as Brooks led her around the store, checking things off her wish list.
“It’s so much fun getting to watch them pick out what they want. It’s great to see this around Christmas,” said Hensley.
RoHo is able to fund this event at $150 per child through ticket sales from their annual fishing tournament, t-shirt and hat sales and donations from community partners.
Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.