Wednesday after school, more than two dozen children from Sam Case Elementary, chosen by the Lincoln County School District’s HELP program and Sam Case Family Advocates, took part in the Kids In need Shopping Spree (KISS), organized by the Central Coast Kiwanis Club of Newport.
Accompanied by Kiwanis members and other community volunteers, each child was allowed to choose $100 (after generous store discounts) in shoes and clothing from the Newport Wal-Mart and Fred Meyer stores. Afterwards, the children, who ranged from kindergarten through third grade, enjoyed a party with holiday food, entertainment, and a visit from Santa at the HELP center at the former Yaquina View School. In addition to the shopping spree, 42 other children received Christmas stockings full of goodies and a $25 shoe voucher from PayLess Shoes, all donated by the club.
“The idea originated with our charter president, John Williams,” said Sue Perretta, the current club president. “Luci Diaz, our treasurer, was instrumental in bringing it all together. The idea was to let the children have fun while providing them with something to keep them warm this winter.”
The volunteers who assisted enjoyed the experience almost as much as the kids. Afterwards, Katie Bighill noted, “I had to hold my tears back. One little boy I was with said, ‘this is the best day ever!’ My little guy told me he felt like crying because he was so excited about his light up shoes and the party! I am so thankful to have been a part of this event.”
In addition to several community fundraising projects, some generous donations made the event possible, of which the largest was $1250 from the Florence Kiwanis Foundation. “The Kiwanis Club of Florence was one of the two sponsoring clubs for the Central Coast Kiwanis Club last year,” said Sean Barrett, president of the Kiwanis Foundation of Florence. “We were happy to help with their first big project. Our club is well established with 60 members contributing hundreds of volunteer service hours along with $30,000 annually to the community. This is the kind of impact a strong Kiwanis club can have and we hope to see the club in Newport accomplish as much within a few years.”
One of the new style of Kiwanis clubs, the Central Coast Kiwanis Club welcomes members from Yachats to Depoe Bay. They aim at having five social and service hours and just one hour meeting to do business each month. Anyone interested in learning more about Kiwanis can email firstname.lastname@example.org.