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Change the world — start with local kids

Staff Writer | December 9, 2020 1:00 AM

Before Santa and his reindeer bring gifts to children of the world, the Boys and Girls Club of Kootenai County is making sure kiddos in North Idaho are warm, fed and happy.

The 2020 Christmas for Kids shopping extravaganzas will take place Dec. 9 and 11. Volunteers will roam the aisles of Kohl's with 50 Boys and Girls Club members.

"This is our way to give back," said Nicole Hammons, development director for the Boys and Girls Club of Kootenai County. "We're just ensuring the kids have warm clothes. The holidays can be rough, especially this year. It's just taking the pressure off of them and bringing a little joy.

"It's my favorite thing," she said. "They're so cute. We have a lot of kids who say, 'I've never bought something new from the store.'"

Volunteers are still needed to serve as shopping buddies for the youths, who will be searching for presents for siblings as well as items for themselves. Hammons said ideal shopping pals are good at finding deals, "but also we really like it when men sign up because we have a lot of boys."

"They really enjoy that male presence in their life, which a lot of them don’t have," she said. "Mostly, it's hanging out with them, helping them do the math and understand what a clearance rack is."

Christmas for Kids, which has been an annual event for at least five years, is more than shopping.

"The unique thing, too, is we provide them with warm clothes, and then they do get a surprise item, just to make it fun," Hammons said. She added that families of the recipients each receive about $300 worth of groceries.

A donation of $100 sponsors a child and $500 sponsors an entire family.

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