What if Santa Never Came?

Imagine a child waking up on the morning when Santa was to visit the night before, to find there are no gifts.  Imagine not just a single child, but the whole family so needy that there is no celebration. Now think about what it’s like to teach a child not just the joy of participating in the holiday, but the joy of giving gifts to their family. You friends at Rotary think about this.

Rotary’s Children’s Holiday Shopping Service Project

The Rotary Club of Crystal River’s Children’s Holiday Shopping Service Project helps meet the needs of our community by targeting underprivileged and financially needy children, providing them and their families with gifts for Christmas. Our club history indicates that the program began in 1985.  Now, through personal contributions of our members and partner clubs this program has grown to include children from all over our county. Our yearly goal is to identify and fund 100 children.

It happens every year

The first Saturday in December has traditionally been reserved for the Children’s Holiday Shopping Service Project.  Children are qualified through their school’s Guidance Departments.  In 2018 chaperones gathered at Walmart around 7:00 AM and the selected children were each matched with a chaperone, given a $100.00 shopping budget, a light breakfast, and time to shop.  When the shopping is complete, the children are transported to Crystal River High School by bus where they are treated to a wonderful  pizza party.  Chaperones and volunteers help them to wrap and tag the gifts that they selected for their families and themselves.  Rotarian chaperones, Interact, and Rotaract watch over the children until they are picked up by their parent/care giver around 11:00 AM.

The community contributes

Wrapping giftsRotarians are involved in all aspects of this special day including: fund raising, coordinating participating clubs, Community Grant Application to Walmart, contacting schools, coordinating children through school guidance departments, contacting care givers, arranging notices and permission authorization consents, transportation details, gathering and tracking supplies, financial contributions, pizza party, wrapping details and, of course, Santa.

This is a major hands on service project with guaranteed potential to make a huge difference in the lives of some families who may not have otherwise had much for the Holidays.  Our opportunity to mentor and model for these children as we guide them through the morning is another bond between Rotary and our Community.

If you think this kind of kindness is something you would like to support, feel free to contact us, or make a donation to our Foundation.  We’re happy to share the joy.