Green River Star -

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By Hannah Romero
Staff Writer 

Little Shoppers event helps children give Christmas presents to families


November 24, 2021

When it comes to Christmas, most people think of parents getting presents for the children. However, some of the most memorable and special gifts are the ones children give to their family. Unfortunately many children, particularly those from low income families, aren’t able to afford presents for their parents and siblings.

That’s where the “Little Shoppers” event comes in.

“The purpose of the event is to allow students to shop for Christmas presents for their families which are sold at below garage sale prices,” Liz Thoman, the agriculture educator and FFA advisor at Green River High School, explained. “Our target audience is the kids that may come from economically disadvantaged families that might need some extra help getting presents for their families at little to no costs.”

Sweetwater County’s 4-H program has hosted a “Little Shoppers” event for several years, often hosting it at the Sweetwater Events Complex in Rock Springs.

While that event will be held again this year from 5 - 8 p.m. Dec. 3, FFA and the Green River High School Student Council have teamed up to bring “Little Shoppers” directly to Green River.

Although a “Little Shoppers” event did take place in Green River last Christmas, it didn’t have the turnout Thoman hoped for, so she “decided to change it up a bit this year.”

FFA and the high school’s student council will be taking the event directly to schools this time, working with elementary and middle schools to identify students most in need of the experience and bring them to shop from “stores” set up in each school.

“Our goal with changing it up this year is to try and have a larger impact on our students of Sweetwater County School District No. 2 and provide them the opportunity to enjoy the gift of giving without having to worry about the monetary side of it,” Thoman said.

“It’s an opportunity for these kids to either get things for their siblings or their parents,” Marisa DeClercq, the GRHS Student Council supervisor, said. “We help them wrap it, and then they can take home these presents so they can give their families presents that they otherwise wouldn’t have ever been able to provide.”

DeClercq recalled the first time she was able to give real presents to her family members as a child, and how the experience created a new outlook for her. She believes in the adage of giving gifts is better than receiving them, saying that allowing children the opportunity to give their family a gift helps instill that belief in them, giving them a chance to understand it firsthand.

DeClercq said the student council first got involved with “Little Shoppers” last year when Thoman asked if they had any volunteers who could help with the event. The students enjoyed it so much that Thoman and DeClercq decided to work together this year.

Setting up multiple events at different schools also makes this year an all-hands-on-deck situation, so the student council members are even more involved, which DeClercq believes has its own benefits.

“I think it’s also important for [the high school students] to understand giving and helping people that are in need,” DeClercq said. “Seeing that there are families out there that do need help, I think it humbles them and gives them an understanding that ... to give back is really important.”

The “Little Shoppers” events in Green River schools will be taking place early in December, but FFA and the GRHS Student Council are seeking donations until Dec. 3 to help put the events together.

Those who wish to help can donate new or lightly used items, which can be anything children could give as a gift to their family members, such as home decor, kitchenware, tools, jewelry, toys and more. Wrapping materials such as wrapping paper, ribbons and tape can also be donated. Monetary donations are also acceptable and will go toward purchasing necessary supplies for the event.

Those who wish to donate can contact Liz Thoman or the Green River High School.


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