Submitted by: Rev. Bonnie Lipton, UCC Gladbrook, IA

Wow, the 11th Kids Shopping Day was a huge success. The weather was very nice for December. The shoppers were lined up and ready to make out their shopping list for their loved ones long before 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9th, at Peace Church. We are just amazed at how the people in our community support KSD year after year. It has now become a Gladbrook Christmas tradition.

The Gladbrook American Legion Auxiliary Children & Youth Committee chaired the project with help from Gladbrook area churches, organizations, & individuals. Special guests helping this year was the Department of Iowa American Legion Auxiliary President Mary Sypherd and Dept. Children & Youth Chairman Cheyenne McDaniel. Once again with thousands of items donated by the community, we created an opportunity for our area children to “shop” all by themselves and without any exchange of money.

Approximately 180 children diligently looked over the many items searching for the perfect gift to give to 8-10 family members. As you might of guessed there were a lot of toys, Hawk and Cyclone items, fishing, hunting and golf, and beautiful gift baskets. The children came from all around the G-R & GMG area. One mother told us that her children shopped, and that is all they talked about all year.

Parents patiently waited for their children in the sanctuary of the church. They enjoyed listening to Christmas carols played by June Bessman, viewing the beautiful decorations, and refreshments.

Volunteers helped the younger children shop. Many of the children were all smiles as they knew they had picked out the perfect gift for their moms, dads, brothers, sisters, etc. Other volunteers wrapped their presents, and each tag stated, “Jesus Loves You”. When the shoppers left, their “treasures” were ready to be put under the tree.

Each shopper visited the “People of Bethlehem”, Kay Lowry, Lisa Koester, Rev. Gideon Gallo, and Becky Fish, to receive a Christmas card and a Nativity ornament as their gift. Tired and happy kids left for home with a large bag of gifts for loved ones in their hands, plus a seed, containing the awareness of our loving Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in their souls.

An abundance of our good Gladbrook-Lincoln folks contributed in countless ways to this year’s KSD. Individuals, our local churches, and organizations worked together beautifully to serve the children and families in our area. A very special thank you to everyone that donated items or gave monetary donations for the Christmas Store; the ladies that prewrapped packages and made the gift tags, the guys that helped get the church ready, the many volunteers that helped set up the store, 80 plus people that helped on shopping day, and the guys that came back to put the church back to normal. The sparkle in the children’s eyes told us they appreciated everything. We needed each and every one of you in order to pull everything together. THANKS so much!

Many of the items that were left were boxed up and taken to Westbrook Acres, so their residents could shop for their loved ones.

Kids’ Shopping Day offers our young folks, an opportunity to experience the true spirit of Christmas, and you would be surprised on how many letters and calls we receive from parents and grandparents telling us how happy and excited their children were when the gifts they

selected were open. Our kids have the opportunity to encounter… the JOY of thinking beyond self, the JOY of working to choose a gift that will make another happy, handing that gift to their loved one, and then enJOY the loving response of the recipient. The children, workers, and families, give and receive much joy at our community supported “Kids’ Shopping Day”. Thanks for making it happen!