Kids from elementary to high school pitch in for holidays

Dec 9, 2012 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The Riverton High School Key Club's annual toy store opened early on Saturday morning.

Organizers had planned to start the event at 9 a.m. Saturday, but information sent home to elementary school parents said doors to the James H. Moore Career Center would open at 8 a.m.

"I got here at 20 after and people were waiting, so we let them in," Key Club advisor Gay Hughes said.

Fortunately, student volunteers had spent the previous night preparing the center, where rows of tables were already filled with donated toys, stuffed animals and books for needy families to use as Christmas presents.

This year, the Key Clubbers also filled holiday stockings with goodies for area children.

"We started with 14 stockings, but (students are) making more," Hughes said, explaining that donations had continued to come in through Friday evening.

'Good to see their faces'

Junior Haley Snell and sophomores Haleigh Wright and Jerit Dion were busy filling the remaining stockings with tiny toys for boys and girls.

They said they looked forward to the annual toy store event, which gives them a chance to help those in need.

"I love doing this," Wright said. "It's a lot of fun, and I enjoy doing service. It's for people who are less fortunate than me."

Dion said he enjoys seeing children shop with their families.

"It's good to see their faces," he said. "Even the parents get really excited."

Grandma Lucy Liedy was thrilled when she came across a special present for her 5-year-old granddaughter Autumn Osborne. Liedy said she had been looking everywhere for the book "Hi, Pizza Man!" which apparently is popular with Osborne and her friends.

"All the kids can read it and quote it," Liedy said. "This is the greatest Christmas gift we could find."

Student service

Many people in the career center had attended the annual toy store event in the past, but for exchange student Jannik Sandhofer the experience was new. Before he came to RHS, he said he had not been involved in Key Club activities; Sandhofer said his peers in Germany tend to do service through local churches.

"We have similar things, but it's not as big," he said, commending the Riverton group's mission to serve the community.

"It's pretty amazing. ... I would like to make a Key Club in Germany also."

Kiwanis International supports service organizations in younger grades, too. Riverton Middle School students from Builders Club and elementary school K-Kids were at the toy store Saturday helping people shop, wrap presents and carry boxes of toys outside.

"I think it's really cool," sixth-grader Parker Trabing said.

He was walking the halls of the career center with fellow sixth-grader Jayce Leach, looking for anyone who needed help.

Builders Club advisor Michelle Widmayer said it's good for the younger children to experience volunteer work with their older peers.

The middle-schoolers already participated in the Key Club community dinner on Thanksgiving this year, and she hopes they can continue to help the older group with service projects.

"I think it's fantastic," she said. "When they go to high school they'll already know what's going on."

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