More than 120 “elves” from Sonoraville High School hosted 24 less fortunate children in the East Gordon County area for the first annual “Shop With a Phoenix” program recently.
“This was the first time we have done this, and it will not be the last,” said Mark Waters, assistant principal at SHS and coordinator of the event. “Our students get to give back each year to the community and they realize that everyone doesn’t have everything.”
The needy students are identified through the Sonoraville feeder schools and names are given to the program. The children met their shopping buddies at SHS, had cookies and juice and then boarded the buses to Walmart in Calhoun. After shopping, Trinity Baptist Church provided lunch for the event.
The high school students raised the money for their shopping buddies, and there were stipulations that each child could spend so much on themselves and so much on their family, said Waters.
“It was really good to see the kids’ smile and they got to pick what they wanted for their family … ” said 10th grader Whitney Kohut. Freshmen Lorna Lyles added, “It was really fun. Our little girl said it was the best day ever.”
“It was really fun and it felt good helping the kids.”, said freshmen Clark Johnson. “The best thing about the day,” according to senior Erika Harford, “was when our little girl looked at me and said ‘I got my Christmas wish. I get to have presents.’”
Waters said this will be an annual event and plans are already being made for next year on how to grow and improve the event.