VIDEO: Early Christmas for kids at West Seattle Rotary’s annual Shopping Spree

December 3, 2016 8:45 am
|    Comments Off on VIDEO: Early Christmas for kids at West Seattle Rotary’s annual Shopping Spree
 |   Rotary Club of West Seattle | West Seattle news

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(WSB photos/video)

Long before dawn, Christmas arrived early for almost 100 local kids, thanks to about 200 volunteer Santas turning the annual Rotary Club of West Seattle Children’s Shopping Spree from plan to reality:

First to arrive, kids from Arbor Heights Elementary, a few minutes before 7 am. The Rotarians had just finished a rousing briefing for volunteers before the first bus pulled up at Southcenter, where the Shopping Spree had to move starting in 2014, after the SODO Sears shut down.

Kids from five schools are participating this year – along with AHES, they are from Highland Park, Sanislo, and West Seattle Elementaries, and Louisa Boren STEM K-8. Each one is paired with a volunteer to share breakfast – this year, at BJ’s Restaurant – before the “spree,” which focuses on practical items like coats and shoes.

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As the first group settled down to breakfast, the second arrived, from WSES, also to raucous cheers:

They were followed by Sanislo, STEM, and Highland Park, the last group to be greeted, as the sky just outside the mall entrance brightened to gray. Volunteers and students got to know each other as they paired off and headed to breakfast. “What grade are you in?” was the icebreaker question heard time and again.

Following breakfast, shopping time.

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Here’s Arbor Heights principal Christy Collins helping supervise:

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And just as that got going, we had a Santa Claus sighting:

A chat and pic with St. Nick is part of the plan too:

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West Seattle Rotary raises money for this each year through a variety of events including a benefit breakfast featuring a guest speaker (this year, weather analyst Cliff Mass). And the volunteer help, from within the club ranks as well as other groups around the region, is priceless. The groups/businesses participating today included:

Grace Gospel
Sigma Gamma Rho
Zeta Phi Beta
Kappa Alpha Psi
Alpha Phi Alpha
Phi Beta Sigma
Epsilon Epsilon Sigma
(and chapter Omega Psi Phi)
Ferguson Plumbing Supplies
Paula’s Choice Skincare

The Shopping Spree continues on into the morning, with Santa visits and more, and memories that will last a long time – for the adults as well as the kids who are going home with much-needed gifts.

WSB COVERAGE OVER THE YEARS:
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008

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