Today was the much anticipated day of Code 3/Clothe the Kids! There were actually over 700 children served in Kingman! There are months and months of work and preparation and fundraising that occurs to make this event a reality. The Kiwanis club here holds an annual golf outing fundraiser in the summer with the proceeds going to clothe the children. The hospital and all the major businesses in town contribute towards this event.
It’s very exciting for the children to be given the importance of an escort to the stores of police cars, fire trucks and ambulances, all making as much noise as they possibly can announcing the arrival of the children!! And when they got off the buses, there was Santa Claus there to greet them. Many of the children received hugs from Santa.
This year I was paired with an eight year old girl and her five year old brother to shop with. The little boy asked me right away how much time we had to shop. I told him we were going to shop until we had everything we intended to buy today. The brother and sister were very well-behaved and patient as I continuously switched back and forth in focusing on first getting an outfit for the little boy, then his sister, then socks for one, then the other, then shoes and toys, etc. At each department, I would say, “Pick what you like.” The little boy was so happy with his t-shirt depicting the personalities from the World Wrestling Entertainment, that everytime we passed a child in the store he knew, he held it up in front of him and proudly showed off his new shirt to his acquaintances.
While I know that there is an emphasis to make sure each child receives a new winter coat, the sister told me they did not need to pick out coats because their caseworker was getting them new coats. I asked her about this a few times to be very certain this was the case. On the back of the slips of paper they had with them that listed their clothing and shoes sizes was a handwritten note stating that they each needed socks and shoes. So with the extra money not spent on coats, both children got to select two pairs of shoes and several packages of socks.
Finally, the children got to each pick out a toy. The little girl chose a package of trading cards that she was so happy with, she kept kissing the package and saying that she had never had this before today.
Near the checkout counter, we encountered Santa Claus again, who told them he had magic bells (set up in a circle like a tambourine) because when he shook it, a person could not help it but smile. The little girl was determined to not be overcome by the bells’ magic and put on her most serious face. She couldn’t hold it, and broke out in a big smile. Feeling like she wanted to test her ability to withstand the influence of the magic bells, she approached Santa another two and three times determined to maintain her serious expression, but it was for naught; she could not triumph over the power of the magic bells.
I escorted the children to the parent pick-up location, told them how much I had enjoyed shopping with them today and wished them a Merry Christmas and left as they were digging thru their large shopping bag to pull out their toys.
I am grateful that Pa’Ris’Ha Taylor introduced me to such a wonderful volunteer experience. In the words of Mohandas Gandhi, the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.