Kimberly Robinson
Kids in need of warm coats, shoes, socks and more are taken on an annual Holiday Shopping Spree by the West Seattle Rotary Club every year. They arrived early by bus at the Starbucks building in SODO, next door to Sears where they went shopping with the aid of volunteers.

UPDATE- SLIDESHOW: West Seattle Rotary Club Holiday Shopping Spree was early and great

UPDATE 1:00PM Dec. 1
The first bus load of children for the West Seattle Rotary Club's 41st Annual Christmas Shopping Spree arrived around 6:45am at the Starbucks Headquarters but volunteers had arrived long before that. In a tradition that has grown from 9 children the first year, to now 100 children, under privileged children from West Seattle area elementary schools were given warm coats, shirts and more in the event. The kids (and volunteers) were first given breakfast at the SODO Kitchen on the 3rd floor of the Starbucks Building on 1st Ave. South. Then the kids were given socks, coats and were fitted for shoes. Volunteers then took them next door to Sears where with a pre-set budget (and a special discount from Sears) they went shopping for clothes. Later photos with Santa and singing were on the program.

Rotary President Andy Horner said, "This facility layout is different so the logistic changes we're happy about. What was nice to see was all the volunteer groups, their numbers have grown and people are coming back. I think getting the word our and educating people has been important. We might try to grow it next year. It's not just Rotarians anymore."

Volunteer groups that numbered more than 240 people included:

  • Sigma Beta Rho & Alpha Kappa Delta Phi
  • Omega Psi Phi
  • Alpha Phi Alpha
  • Phi Beta Sigma
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha
  • Delta Sigma Theta
  • Sigma Gamma Rho
  • Mercer Island Interact
  • Forest Ridge Interact
  • UW Rotaract
  • National Panhellenic Council
  • Loren Miller Bar Association
  • RYLA
  • Child Rights & You

press release:
On December 1st the Rotary Club of West Seattle in partnership with the Sears Sodo, Sodo Kitchen, and school administrators, counselors, and numerous community volunteers will bring Christmas to 100 children from West Seattle schools.

This project, perhaps more than any other, distinguishes the Rotary Club of West Seattle. It started from very humble beginnings in 1972 when a few Rotarians took several young people Christmas shopping for a few clothing items to a program today that annually involves Rotarians sponsoring a shopping spree for 100 students. The day begins early as students arrive and have an opportunity to talk about their shopping plans. Individual students are matched with Rotarian and other volunteers and they are off to shop.

 Our goal is to be sure that all the kids have warm winter clothing, good footwear and other appropriate clothing. After an exhilarating shopping spree, the children return to meet Santa, receive additional donations, have lunch, sing holiday songs and are finally transported back to their respective schools. 

This project, lead by Rotarians, includes school administrators, counselors and volunteers to be sure that it all happens as planned.

How can you help? You can sponsor a child by going to http://tinyurl.com/Rotary-Children-Shopping.
The Rotary of West Seattle utilizes five avenues of service: Club, Vocational, International, New Generations and Community. Our Foundation Board allocates funding to each avenue of service for them to focus on projects that interest their committee members. We are pleased to give back to the community any way we can, if readers are interested in Rotary, and or would like to contribute to our Foundation, they can visit our website to learn more at www.westseattlerotary.org.

For more information about the event contact Dave Nichols, Publicity Chair of the Rotary Club of West Seattle, P: 206-391-5017 or email at dave@disasterdave.com

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.