Photo courtesy of FrankTown Open Hearts.
By BROOKE WANSER
FrankTown Open Hearts will host their 14th annual holiday shopping event, where low-income children will shop with volunteers for their families, on Saturday, Dec. 2.
Volunteers, churches and groups and corporate sponsors can still sign up to serve at the event or sponsor donations. Chaperone families or individual volunteers will act as hosts for children, who will receive $150 to go Christmas shopping.
“Some go to the mall, some go to Target, some go to Walmart,” said FrankTown’s office manager Brittany Tolbert.
After the event, she said, children and their volunteers will enjoy meal at the Fourth Avenue Church of Christ, and volunteers will have the opportunity to go meet the child’s family.
Executive Director Chris Barnhill said all the children served are on the free and reduced lunch program at their schools, and that the average annual income of the families that FrankTown serves is $12,563.
“That doesn’t go very far in Franklin,” he said.
While stipulations for the money include the child spending half on themselves, Barnhill said out of 75 children last year, only a few spent any money on themselves at all.
“It is heartwarming to see them shop like that, and to see them so selfless as a child,” he said. “These kids are grateful, they’re appreciative, even though they’re below the poverty level.”
This year, the goal is to serve 80 families. According to FrankTown’s most recent update, nine donations of $150 and 24 shopping volunteers are still needed. Volunteers sign ups close on Thanksgiving, while the online donation link will be live until Sunday.
The event will take place from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Fourth Avenue Church of Christ on Dec. 2.
FrankTown Open Hearts is a nonprofit organization with the goal of helping Franklin’s underserved youths succeed through Christ-centered mentoring and vocational education.