LOCAL NEWS

Volunteers desperately needed to take kids in need Christmas shopping

Dec 5, 2022, 10:10 PM | Updated: 10:29 pm

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — A major Christmas giving event to help students in need in South Jordan is in “need” itself.

Christmas For Kids — which is put on by the Jordan Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization for the Jordan School District — is short about 200 volunteer chaperones, and the event is just five days away.

The event pairs over 500 middle and high school age kids with adult chaperones. Those volunteers walk the aisles of the store and help the kids, who are given $150 each, purchase Christmas presents.

But this year, a first, in the nine years they’ve been doing it, “We need help,” said Mike Haynes, executive director with the Jordan Education Foundation.

“Last month, we thought, ‘oh, we are going to have all kinds of support,’ and here we are less than a week away and we are shy almost 200 chaperones. We live in a great community that loves this sort of thing, so it surprises us that we are in this position right now,” Haynes added.

Jen Atwood has been volunteering for six years. She said it’s that one-on-one interaction with the kind and humble students that has changed her life.

“There is nothing that starts the holiday season like this,” Atwood said to KSL.

One experience she will never forget — a student wanting a pillow and blanket for Christmas.

“He said, ‘Do you think I could get a pillow?’ And I said, ‘Well absolutely you can get a pillow.’ And he told me he’s never had a pillow,” she said. “Then he saw the blankets. ‘Do you think I have enough money to get a blanket to put over my mattress?’ I said, ‘Well absolutely. We will make enough money for you to get a blanket.’”

South Jordan Police Chief Jeff Carr and his wife have been volunteering at the event for seven years.

“I fell in love with it,” Carr said. “[The students] want to buy things for their families. They don’t want to get things for themselves. We almost have to force them to buy things for themselves.”

(Jordan Education Foundation)

“It really is the true meaning of Christmas. It’s being able to help these students,” Atwood said.

Christmas for Kids happens on Saturday at the Walmart in South Jordan, located at 10400 South and Bangerter. It’s every hour from 7 a.m to 10 a.m. Volunteers can pick their time slot.

If you would like to volunteer or just donate to the event, click here.

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Volunteers desperately needed to take kids in need Christmas shopping