The Roho Charitable Trust and Fishing Club held their annual Christmas Shopping Spree on Wednesday at Walmart. The club brought 271 pre-school through fifth grade children from the Tri-State area to the shopping spree. Various businesses, schools and other volunteers helped with Roho’s endeavor to help make Christmas a little brighter for the children. This year, each child was given $150 to spend — $40 for toys and $110 for clothing. They will also receive shoes donated by Walmart.
The children are chosen from 23 schools by their teachers and principals in the area based on need. Then, they are paired with an adult volunteer to help with the choice of items for their special Christmas shopping trip. Walmart and its associates began preparation for the event in September. According to store manager Doug Napier, all the employees look forward to the event. Walmart provides a special treat for lunch and brings Santa Claus to the store to visit with the children.
The Middlesboro elementary-age shoppers were transported from area schools by church vans from the First Baptist Church of Middlesboro. Assisting the children once they arrived at Walmart were employees from First State Financial, Home Federal Bank, Mountain View Nursing Home and Rehab Center, Bell-Whitley, East End Pawn Shop, Community Trust Bank, Kiwanis of Middlesboro, Pappy’s, LMU Athletic Department, LMUDCOM, Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, J. Frank White Academy and Middlesboro ARH.
A group of approximately 50 Middlesboro High School Key Club members also participated in the shopping event. Steve Cambron, president of Roho, said the children chosen to participate in the shopping spree often think of giving before receiving. Some of them buy Christmas presents for siblings or parents, rather than for themselves, he said. “These kids are not selfish,” said Cambron. “They try to get things for brothers or sisters or their mom or dad.” In order to raise funds for this event, Roho sponsors a fishing tournament the first weekend in May each year.
The proceeds from the tournament are used in December for the children’s shopping spree. Roho was first organized about 46 years ago by a group of former Jaycees who wanted to continue serving their community. The first shopping spree involved five children in 1970.