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Erwin Kiwanis Shopping Tour hosts 130 local children

By Richard Rourk

The Kiwanis Club of Erwin’s 55th Annual Christmas Shopping Tour was another success, according to Kiwanis Club of Erwin Christmas Shopping Tour Chairman Bill Gaines.

The annual event, which was held on Saturday, Dec. 7, saw more than 130 children storm the doors of Walmart in Unicoi.

“This year we had about 135 children as opposed to the 181 children we had last year,” Gaines said. “Since the numbers were down, we were able to give the children around $120 each to spend.”

According to Gaines, the tour started in 1965 with the Erwin Jaycees. This program provides shoes, clothes and toys for children whose families have been identified by local school counselors as those needing assistance. Volunteers from local county and city organizations chaperone a child as they shop with funds donated by the Erwin Kiwanis Club and its donors.

Gaines acknowledged that this event couldn’t happen without support from the community.

“We had around 80 volunteers, and we are so thankful for Amy and Tony at Walmart, and for the donations of pizza from Pizza Hut, Rocky’s Pizza, Pizza Plus and drinks provided by Rocky Tilson and Food Lion,” Gaines said. “We also are thankful for all of the donations, volunteers and the work of the Unicoi County High School Blue Devil and Lady Blue Devil basketball programs for putting the treat bags together.”

According to Gaines, all of the children were sent home happy.

“We had no child left behind. All the children were sent home with plenty of presents,” Gaines said. “Each child also attended an after party at the UCHS cafeteria. We had pizza and each child also received a treat bag to take home.”

The Kiwanis Club of Erwin relies on donations to make the Christmas Shopping Tour a reality. If you are interested, you can donate anytime throughout the year by sending donations to Erwin Kiwanis Foundation, P.O. Box 207, Erwin, TN 37650.