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Kiwanis Club requests donations for annual shopping tour

The annual Kiwanis Christmas Shopping tour – a Unicoi County tradition dating back to the mid-1960s – will be coordinated again this holiday season by the Erwin Kiwanis Club.
The 2015 tour is scheduled to be held on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 8:30 a.m. at the Unicoi Walmart. Volunteers who wish to help participating children shop should arrive between 7:30 and 8 a.m.
In order for the Erwin Kiwanis Club to help as many children as possible this holiday season, its members are currently seeking financial support from local businesses, industries and individuals.
According to Bill Gaines, chairman of the 2015 shopping tour, the event was first supported by the Erwin Jaycees.
“When the Erwin Jaycee chapter surrendered its charter, the Kiwanis Club of Erwin voted to take over this project because it helped so many needy children to have a happy Christmas,” Gaines said.
The resources available to the club will determine how many children will be able to participate in the tour. The club usually provides approximately 150 children with around $100 to spend at the Unicoi Walmart. Using the money provided by the club, the children purchase Christmas gifts, including toys, clothes, shoes and coats. This year, the club is hoping to have 175 children participate.
“We also provide approximately 50 Head Start children with $33 each for gifts,” Gaines said.
Gaines also said that monetary support from the community has been and will be essential to the success of the shopping tour.
“This project has been successful through the years because of generous financial support from business, industry and individuals,” Gaines said. “The project is so well supported by the community that we often have more volunteers show up than children. Because of the difficult economic times we are in, it will be a challenge to raise the necessary funds again this year. We ask that you do what you can, and encourage others, including your friends and/or employees to donate to this project with both time and money.
“Your support will be very much appreciated, and will help to provide smiles and a happier Christmas to Unicoi County children who might otherwise have very little.”
Donations for the 2015 Kiwanis Shopping Tour can be mailed to the Erwin Kiwanis Foundation at: Kiwanis Club of Erwin, P.O. Box 207, Erwin, Tenn. 37650. The foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation. Contributions are tax deductible and will be properly receipted, Gaines said.
For more information about donating or volunteering, call Gaines at 341-3022.
To register a child to participate in the Kiwanis Shopping Tour, contact Regina Harrell, director of Coordinated School Health for the Unicoi County School System, at 743-1600.