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ROHOs hold shopping spree for 355 kids



The ROHO Fishing Club held their annual Christmas shopping spree at Middlesboro Walmart on Tuesday and Wednesday.


Due to COVID-19, this year’s shopping was done by teachers and volunteers from area schools. The items they selected will be dispursed to 355 children from 29 schools across the Tri-State area. To help with social distancing, shopping for kids from Middlesboro, Pineville, Bell County and Lee County, Va., schools was held on Tuesday morning with the Tennessee schools shopping on Wednesday.


“This year has been very different due to the pandemic and has offered many challenges for us,” said ROHO member Bill Dean. “We couldn’t have the children this year, but we did go to the schools and got the lists of names for all of the children. Volunteers have all of their clothing sizes and a Santa want list for each child.

“Walmart has stepped forward to host us. We’re all wearing masks and we’re all maintaining our six-foot distance. It’s different but we’re surviving and we’re going to get through it.


Like in past years, $150 was spent for each child — $40 for toys and $110 for clothing. In addition, Walmart donated a free pair of shoes to each child.


The shopping spree started in 1970 with five children and continues to grow each year through the sponsorship of the RoHo Fishing Club. Various businesses, schools and other volunteers helped with ROHO’s endevor to make Christmas a little brighter for these children.


The children are chosen from 29 schools by their principals and teachers in the tri-state area as to their need and are then paired with an adult volunteer to help them choose their items for their very special Christmas shopping trip.


Children from Bell and Harlan counties, Lee County, Va., and Claiborne and Union counties in Tennessee were selected by the faculty members at each school.


Walmart and its associates began their preparations for this very special event in September.


“We all look forward to this event,” Store Manager Doug Napier said. “We just appreciate being a part of the ROHO event and thankful for what they do.”


RoHo spokesperson Lawrence Tuck said Walmart is an outstanding supporter of the program.


“They go above and beyond the checkout lane to make this a very memorable day for all involved each year,” Tuck said.


RoHo was first organized in 1957 by a group of former Jaycees who wanted to continue serving their community. Today, there are approximately 80 RoHo members from the tri-state area.


You may make a donation to sponsor a child in the shopping spree for $150 or any size donation you wish to make. Individual tickets for the fishing tournament are $5. At the tournament, many door prizes are given and you do not have to be present or fish to win. The tournament is held the first weekend in May and all donations go to the children for their shopping spree.

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