Making Christmas bright for 47 kids

Tom KingFarragut

The Rotary Club of Farragut is like most Rotary clubs when it comes to community projects. You find out about a need and see if the club has the willingness, resources and manpower to work on a specific project. This time of year, a project near and dear to the hearts of Farragut Rotarians is the Boys and Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley’s Angel Tree initiative.

One of our past presidents, Jonathan Johnson, has a passion for the Boys and Girls Club and has passed that along to our members. For several years now, this has been one of our club’s successful major holiday projects. This year is no different.

Almost 50 percent of our members recently went shopping for 47 Angel Tree kids. Each kid wished for four gifts. A few Rotarians shopped for two children and when the shopping was done the bed of the big truck from the Boys and Girls Club was covered with Angel Tree Christmas gifts for all 47 children.

“I was very pleased with our Angel Tree response this year. I know members have other options to participate in similar programs through their churches or other organizations so I think we do a great job,” PP Johnson said.

“Ernie Brooks, the major gifts officer at the club, is the one who I work with on this and he is always so appreciative. He has commented that he wishes that there were more organizations that would help like we do and sponsor so many kids. He is always so thankful and it means a lot to them.”

Brooks did weigh in on this project and our club’s role. “That is a huge chunk of kids to take on for one organization and there’s no way I can adequately tell you how much it means to us,” he said. “The kids are getting the gifts they wanted and you all are awesome to continue doing this for our children.”

The Boys and Girls Club has 15 locations in Knox, Blount, Loudon and North Anderson counties and Ernie says they have 550 children who will be receiving Angel Tree gifts this Christmas. Most Angel Tree kids are between the ages of 5 and 12, he added.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you from the club and from the kids who this will mean so much to again this year,” Brooks said.

Bell Ringing: If you’re going to be near the Kroger store in Farragut on Saturday, Dec. 16 or Dec. 23, drop by the Salvation Army Red Kettles at the main entrance and say hello to a Farragut Rotarian or two. Club members in two-person teams will be ringing the bells from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. both Saturdays. Some will have kids and grandkids helping as well.

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