A seasonal tradition of nearly three decades again pleased Rotarians and selected Carson City families as they enjoyed a shopping spree and holiday celebration Saturday. Members of the Rotary Club of Carson City took a child from each family shopping at Walmart north after Friends In Service Helping helped in building the list of 25 families involved.“The club has been doing this since 1985,” said Bill Kirby, club president. Kirby, who spearheaded the shopping sprees and celebrations for years, this year had a program chairperson to do the heavy lifting.“He's grooming me to take over,” said Amy Clemens, who along with her daughter Maddie, wrapped many gifts during the day. They also got help from Jennifer Herald, another of the 20 or so Rotarians involved. Kirby watched the proceedings, ready to lend a hand if necessary. “I'm in ‘helping' charge,” Kirby countered Clemens' quip.After the morning of shopping and brunch or some other activity, the children and their Rotarian shopper allies returned to Carson City Middle School where wrapping of the families' gifts ensued in the library.For example, Anne Hansen was one of the Rotarians helping as Sharline, an eighth-grader, and Cheyenne, a sixth-grader, were wrapping and talking. Topics included the gift-seeking day and longer-term goals.They were excited about presents they had selected for family members as well as what they wanted to do in life. The presents must remain secret so parents or siblings get surprised, but life goals were another matter. Sharline wants to be a lawyer, she said. Cheyenne said she wants to write articles for a New York-based fashion magazine. None of the kids who did the shopping for presents to give family members got left out in the gift department. The Rotarians with them watched to see what the children shopping liked themselves, then called in details and four “secret shopper” Rotarians picked up those items.Such items underwent gift-wrapping in another room at the middle school, keeping the holiday largesse hidden from their eventual recipients.Kirby said the club was providing an estimated $1,700 on the project this year. Individual Rotarians involved, however, sometimes put up extra on their own to buy brunch or pay for some other mid-morning activity.After the return to the middle school and the fun of wrapping, families gathered in the school gymnasium with the Rotarians for seasonal songs, fellowship and a visit by Santa Claus.
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