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Chimes volunteers get in holiday spirit

Chimes volunteers get in holiday spirit
Chimes volunteers get in holiday spirit | Chimes volunteers get in holiday spirit
Staff Reporter
We are blessed.
It was a sentiment expressed more than once Sunday afternoon by volunteers at Chimes for Charity’s annual children’s shopping tour.
Volunteers turned out in force to help some 300 less fortunate school-age children pick new winter clothing courtesy of Chimes, sponsored by the Union City Jaycees and J’Cettes and supported by community donations.
This year, 375 children of all ages were chosen to shop. Fifty Head Start children were each treated to clothing in a separate event last week, while Sunday afternoon’s shopping spree at Walmart Supercenter in Union City resulted in clothing provided for about 325 children from pre-kindergarten through age 14 from city and county schools.
The children arrived throughout the afternoon with lists of their clothing and shoe sizes for the convenience of volunteers, who helped the youngsters make sensible selections.
Each child Sunday received $115 worth of clothing that ranged from warm coats, gloves and shoes to jeans, sweaters and undergarments. Afterward, they visited with Santa and each received a toy.
Several of the volunteer shoppers came with groups, representing local churches and school organizations, while others simply came on their own to enjoy the experience. Many of them were return shoppers from past years.
Antoinette Waites of Union City brought her three young daughters — ages 11, 8 and 5 — to help her shop with underprivileged children during Sunday’s event. It marked Mrs. Waites’ seventh year to help and she believes it is important to participate.
“I’m a school teacher at Lake Road and I just think it’s important for the kids to see the teachers interacting with them and in community events, and then I think it’s just as important for my kids to see it — to come into the community and to realize how blessed we all are,” Mrs. Waites said.
Return shopper Tammy Baucom of Kenton came back this year with her husband, Mark. It marked her third year and his first year to volunteer.
As Mrs. Baucom sorted through racks of clothing for a little boy, her husband kept the youngster entertained as he manned the shopping cart. They could frequently be heard laughing together.
“I enjoy helping them out and seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces,” Mrs. Baucom said.
Vikki Stevenson of Union City, who works for the Obion County School System, returned as a volunteer Sunday afternoon after a couple years’ absence and was thoroughly enjoying the experience.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing to be able to help the students and give them a chance to pick out some things that they like, and it’s a way to give back to the community,” she said. “I love it, I love it.”
First-year shopper Melinda Cooper of Mason Hall told The Messenger her daughter was coming to volunteer Sunday with a friend who always helps with Chimes — and she decided to stay and join in the fun.
“I’m having a good time,” she said, adding that she was fortunate to be paired with a little girl who “likes to shop” and enjoyed making her clothing selections.
Joanne Sperduto of Woodland Mills was back for her second year of volunteering to shop. She received a pleasant surprise when she was paired with a child she had previously met when she volunteered at the local library. It was a sweet reunion for both.
“We just hugged each other and she was like ‘Ms. Jo, Ms. Jo,’” she said. “It was just so cool.”
As she paused from helping the child select a colorful striped sweater, Ms. Sperduto told The Messenger she was having a wonderful time and felt like she was called to volunteer.
“I am having a blessed time. It’s wonderful,” she said. “It’s a calling. I feel called to do this. I love it. … I’m blessed.”
Published in The Messenger 11.19.12