ReDonn Woods is the General Chair of the 59th annual Children’s Shopping Tour which will be held Saturday, December 4.
Volunteers to assist the children with their shopping need to be at the Pampa Optimist Youth Club gym by 8 a.m. to register and receive information about the children they will assist. They will be given the ages and sizes of everyone in the children’s households.
Parents who would like to make an application for a child to go on the Tour need to contact Rev. A. J. Taylor at the New Horizon Community Fellowship Church, 711 E. Harvester, Delma Sanchez at the St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, 810 W. 23rd Avenue, Amy Crain at Pampa Regional Medical Center, #1 Medical Plaza, ReDonn Woods at The Pampa News, 403 W. Atchison, or John Warner at 309 W. Foster.
Taylor is in charge of inviting the children to participate and making sure that the children are eligible for the Tour. His committee is expected to register as many as 200 volunteers to help the children shop for and wrap their presents. Jana Snider, whose E-mail is email@example.com, is in charge of recruiting the needed volunteers.
“We are hoping to assist 50 to 75 children on the tour who will be among about 300 family members,” Woods said. “The children will be between ages five and 10,” she continued. “The children do not buy presents for themselves. They buy presents for all the members of their households. Most of these children have never been Christmas shopping before. A purpose of the project is to teach the children that Christmas is about giving.”
Kevin Davis heads up Optimist volunteers who will prepare a hamburger luncheon for the volunteers and a take home lunch for the children and all the members of their households. “We did that last year because of COVID instead of having them eat at the Optimist Club building,” Davis explained. “We want to limit any possible exposure to COVID for the children and the volunteers.”
After the volunteers have registered in the Optimist gym Saturday morning, they will come into the meeting room and be treated with coffee, orange juice and donuts by Tralee Crisis Center. Woods will present an orientation and answer questions about the Tour. Renita Cortez is the Tralee representative on the Steering Committee who is in charge of the continental breakfast.
Wal-Mart is furnishing the child a 10% discount on their purchases. After the children have purchased their gifts, they will return to the Optimist Club gym to wrap their packages. Whitney Davis and a group of volunteers will see that the children have all the wrapping materials necessary to wrap more than one thousand expected packages the children will need to wrap. “Seeing a child wrap his or her first Christmas package puts the spirit in the season for me each year,” she said. She and her husband, Kevin, have been on the Steering Committee and have helped with the project for more than 30 years.
Tanner Davis heads a group of Pampa Junior High School teachers who will man the checkout lines to see that the children do not go over their budgets and that all gifts are appropriate. They will also mark through the bar codes on the purchases so that gifts may only be exchanged for size or other appropriate reasons, but not for cash.
Richard Stowers and John Warner are the Co-Treasurers for the project. Donations should be made payable to the Pampa Optimist Youth Club with a notation in the left-hand corner “Children’s Shopping Tour.” Warner’s address is P. O. Box 645, Pampa, Texas 79066-0645. Donations may be hand-delivered to 309 W. Foster in Pampa.
Dr. Mark W. Ford, Jr. and the Gideon Society will offer the children a New Testament Bible in English or Spanish as they leave the Optimist Club.
Chrissy Silva and members of the Catholic Youth will entertain the children and lead Christmas carols. Jana Gregory of the Pampa United Way and Courtnie Patterson with the Pampa Chamber of Commerce will furnish the materials for a coloring contest for children who finish shopping and wrapping early. Josh Clinton from First Baptist Church will give a “Reason for the Season” talk to remind the children of the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Amy Crain is preparing a brochure about the project in English and Spanish which will help the volunteers answer questions the parents or volunteers might have.
Woods and her husband, Keith, have been married more than 27 years. They have three daughters. Autumn is a senior at Pampa High School. McKenzie is a sophomore. Kennedey is an eighth grader at Pampa Junior High. They are members of the First Baptist Church. Woods is a member of the Pampa Chamber of Commerce and is a Past President. She has also served as Boss Lion for the Pampa Lions Club and President of the Chamber of Commerce Gold Coats.
“I did not realize how much work goes into the Children’s Shopping Tour,” Woods said. “I did not have any idea how many volunteers it takes to put the Tour together.” Each year about 35 to 40 organizations are involved, spearheaded by the Pampa Optimist Youth Club, the Downtown Pampa Kiwanis Club, Tralee Crisis Center and the Altrusa Club of Pampa. “The opportunity for a child to learn about giving instead of receiving at Christmas is huge,” Woods concluded.
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