JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s every child’s dream to go on a Christmas shopping spree. Dozens of local kids had that opportunity Wednesday.
Christmas for Kids has helped make the season brighter for 15 years. The event helps kids who might not get gifts otherwise.
“The kids come with their parents, and we allow $200 per child or $400 per family,” Stephen Vining, Christmas for the Kids Co-Founder, said. “And the kids get $100 worth of clothes and $100 worth of toys.”
Stephen Vining and Steve Weintraub started Christmas for Kids 15 years ago to ensure that children who need it the most would not have to go without toys or clothing on Christmas Day.
“Can you imagine, a child waking up on Christmas Day with no Christmas?” Vining said. “It’s heartbreaking. And I think the community understands that and reaches out. The most amazing part about it is the police officers and firemen that volunteer their time. They come down here on their off time to help us with this event and 100% of the donations go directly to the kids.”
The families met Wednesday for a shopping spree where they were assisted by a JSO officer, firefighter, community service officer, or volunteer.
The overall experience was amazing.
“Amazing, the Blocker Family, who attended the event, said. “The officers were helpful, friendly, we had a great conversation, and the kids interacted well with them. ”
Shopping carts loaded and children with smiles on their faces.
Christmas comes a little early this year but the appreciation for this act of kindness was right on time.
“Thank you, the Blocker family said. “Words can’t express the gratitude, not only from my family but others. Just the simple blessings that we get does way more than you could ever imagine, you know? It opens doors. It gives opportunities,”
Nearly 300 kids were supported through this year’s event.