Snow fell in Henderson Friday morning just in front of the entrance to the Goodwill store on Stephanie Street and American Pacific Avenue as the nonprofit welcomed 75 children to its second annual Christmas Shopping Spree.
Families invited to the event were greeted by Santa Claus just inside the store’s entrance, and each child invited was given a $100 gift card to use within the store.
Three local nonprofit organizations that partnered with Goodwill of Southern Nevada for the event selected the 75 local children to receive the gift cards.
Planning for the event started with a call from Goodwill for nonprofit partners who specifically help children, because Goodwill itself doesn’t provide services for children, according to Morgan Waldron, 38, Goodwill’s director of marketing and communications.
Goodwill initially partnered only with HopeLink of Southern Nevada and Children’s Advocacy Alliance for the event. Foster Kinship, the third nonprofit involved, was brought in by Children’s Advocacy Alliance, according to the alliance’s director of finance, Ben Douglas.
“It’s more for our families,” said HopeLink of Southern Nevada CEO Stacey Lockhart. “That they have an opportunity, you know, especially right now to be able to come out, and let their children Christmas shop.”
Multiple families attending said that they appreciated the event, especially considering the recent financial hardships.
“There’s hardship, life’s hard right now,” said Rose Botelho as her grandson played with his new construction toy in her cart.
Botelho has been raising her 3-year-old grandson, Ryker White, alone since her husband died of COVID-19 two years ago. She said that the challenges of today have affected everyone, not just people like her.
“It’s been tough,” said Dina Hicks, 44. “But when organizations like Foster Kinship and Goodwill come together to help the community and to help families, we can’t beat that. It’s awesome.”
Hicks and her husband, 40-year-old Robert Hicks, were there with their two daughters. The two raise their 9 and 6-year-old daughters, as well as their 8, 4 and 2-year-old nephews, who stayed home on Friday. Their older daughter, Lily, said that her favorite part of the event was buying Squishmallows to add to her collection.
Botelho spoke about what events like this mean to her as tears welled up in her eyes.
“Events like this are just a blessing,” said Botelho. “We just pray and thank everybody who invited us. It just means so much.”
Contact Mark Credico at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MarkCredicoII.