|Chimes for Charity volunteers help put smiles on area children |
|Posted: Monday, November 21, 2011 9:03 pm |
| By CHRIS MENEES |
’Tis more blessed to give than to receive.
Just ask any Chimes for Charity volunteer.
It was a sentiment ex-pressed by several of them Sunday afternoon at Chimes for Charity’s annual children’s shopping tour at Walmart Supercenter in Union City.
The shopping tour — sponsored by the Union City Jaycees and J’Cettes and supported by community contributions — provides new winter clothing for less fortunate children in the community.
This year, 373 children were invited to shop during Sunday afternoon’s event for elementary school-age children and during a separate Head Start shopping tour last Wednesday. Each child Sunday afternoon was treated to $115 worth of clothing, ranging from school clothes and undergarments to warm coats, gloves and shoes.
Chimes for Charity is in its 77th year of providing food, clothing and toys to less fortunate families around Obion County at Christmas. The program relies on contributions from individuals, businesses, churches and organizations throughout the community in order to fund its many projects to help those in need.
Sunday afternoon’s shopping tour was a flurry of activity as dozens of volunteers converged on the store to help hundreds of boys and girls make sensible selections. After checking out, the children visited with Santa Claus and each received a toy from the jolly old elf.
Many veteran Chimes volunteers often relate that the shopping tour is one of their favorite activities to help those in need at Christmas.
Melanie Nicks of Union City has been volunteering at the Chimes shopping tour for the last five or six years and her daughter has participated with her the past three years.
“It’s just fun, helping someone out,” she said. “It’s just cute to watch the kids line up with all their clothes. We have a large time.”
First-time volunteer Robin Long of Union City said she came out Sunday afternoon because she loves children and the shopping tour looked like fun.
“I just wanted to help the community this year,” she said.
Lakevius Turner of Union City was back for his fourth year of volunteering and said he plans to continue in the years ahead.
“I just like to help them out,” he said. “I’ve had kids who wanted to be preachers and kids who wanted to do all kinds of great stuff and it makes me happy to help them.”
Several members of the Tennessee Rollerz motorcycle club were on hand to help, among them club president Dwayne Wilkins of Union City, a first-time volunteer shopper.
“It’s a good thing. It’s a great event,” he said. “We always want to be a part of this.”
Ironically, Wilkins found a personal connection with a child assigned to him Sunday afternoon. He had gone to school with the boy’s father.
“He’s a wonderful kid. I’m having a blast,” Wilkins said.
Becky Roberson of Hickman, Ky., has been volunteering at the shopping tour for many years and now brings a group of youth from her church.
“I used to live over here and I took my (now) 27-year-old — who’s shopping right now with a child — years ago and I started her because I wanted her to appreciate things and just learn how to give. And so now my kids do it,” she said. “And I bring our youth from Hickman First United Methodist Church over here now because they never knew anything about it, so I started bringing them about seven years ago.”
Ms. Roberson said even though the less fortunate children receive the new clothing, she discovered a long time ago that she was receiving a blessing from participating.
“I enjoy it. You get the blessing,” she said. “I even have a newspaper clipping of the first child I ever shopped for — her name was Rose — from years ago.”
She said members of the church youth group are sad if they ever have to miss the event.
“My youth group hates to miss it. The kids who are in college now don’t want to know when it is anymore because they can’t be here. This was the one thing they would never miss was coming to Chimes,” she said. “They learned that they received the blessing.”
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 11.21.11