Santa donned neon green this year at the third annual Shop with a Doc event sponsored by Specialists Hospital.
Fifty children from the LightHouse after-school program were chosen to participate in a shopping spree at Target. Each child had $300 dollars to spend, which was split between toys they wanted, items they needed and something for a family member.
Dr. Steven Atchison, an orthopedic surgeon at Specialists, has attended each year with his children.
“We love being able to give back,” he said. “We’ve been so blessed and this makes it all worthwhile.”
The best part for the kids? “Getting me a tree because it’s almost Christmas,” and they didn’t have one, said 7-year-old Ja’Kayla.
Emilio, 11, echoed that thought saying the best part of the morning was “getting everything for my family.”
Each child was paired with a personal shopper who helped them track their spending and choose their items.
The baskets were loaded down with the predictable Hello Kitty items, balls, and dolls. But others gave volunteers pause like those who picked up shampoo and the one who took home a new microwave.
“It’s so nice, but it’s sad,” said volunteer Elizabeth Strong. “When she said she didn’t have a Christmas tree, I thought ‘There’s no way we’re leaving this store without a tree.’”
Target set aside check out lanes to make the process run smooth and provided drinks, snacks and loads of Christmas goodies for the kids as they finished shopping.
Several volunteers, including the doctors, brought their children along as well to help.
“They love doing it, and it’s a good opportunity for them to see the need and be part of helping,” Atchison said.