Washington Evening Journal

Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 18, 2014

12 Days of Christmas Spirit

By Xiomara Levsen | Dec 18, 2013
Pictured from left are Elizabeth Brown, Vanessa Moeller, Madeline Janecek, and Kaitlin Stalder, who went shopping for the Kiwanis AMers and Washington Middle School Builders Club Secret Santa project on Monday, Dec. 16.

Members from the Washington Kiwanis AMers club and the Builders Club at Washington Middle School met Monday evening for Christmas shopping for their Secret Santa project.

Lonny Milligan, Kiwanis AMers member and person in charge of the Secret Santa project, said the group was shopping for 22 families with 47 children altogether.

“We work with Family Connection in the county and buy educational toys for the children and other items the family may need, like clothes,” he said.

A food basket is also provided to the families with canned vegetables, a five-pound ham, and fresh fruit bought from a local grocery story, Milligan said.

“The Builders Club does a food drive, and they collected 400 cans of food for us,” he said.

Milligan said he came up with the Secret Santa project after being a foster parent for 10 years.

“At Christmas you have presents under the tree for your kids but realize the foster kids you have probably won’t get anything from their parents,” he said. “People think you make all of this money being a foster parent, but you only have so much and then start digging into your own pockets.”

On Monday evening seventh-grade Builders Club members Elizabeth Brown, Vanessa Moeller, Madeline Janecek, and Kaitlin Stalder came out to help with shopping for the Secret Santa project. Kiwanis AMers president Matt Brown was in charge of the group of girls.

“This is my fourth year shopping as a Secret Santa,” Matt said. “Right now we are shopping for boys’ items.”

Matt’s daughter said she was excited to go shopping Monday evening and happy to help out.

“We’re shopping tonight because we like to help others,” Elizabeth said. “We also help with other projects with the Builders Club like collect books, clothes, and toys.”

Janecek, Stalder, and Moeller echoed what Elizabeth said. They also said during the holidays it is important for them to help others out and be generous.

On Tuesday night the gifts bought at the store were wrapped. On Saturday, Dec. 21, they will be delivered to the 22 different families along with the food baskets.


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