Gulfport-Orange Grove Rotary Club annual Christmas for Kids event

Thirty-one years and going strong, that’s just how long the Gulfport-Orange Grove Rotary Club has been providing gifts for young people here in South Mississippi.

Members of the Gulfport-Orange Grove Rotary Club work year-round to help out our local community, setting up little free libraries and hosting dictionary giveaways at South Mississippi schools, but they’re turning a new page on how they’ll be handling their annual Christmas for Kids holiday gift give-away due to this new chapter in life due to COVID. Orange Grove Neighborhood Walmart Store Manager Kevin Gaines said, “Every bit of the shopping has been done virtually and it’s been done online. In years past we’ve taken the parents and the students to a local retails store and have shopped with the parents.  It’s the same thing this year. What happened this year, is the students created what we call a virtual wish list on Each student was given approximately $80 to spend.  They chose a toy, clothing and they chose school supplies, as well. Those lists were sent over to us at the Rotary Club, and we ordered as much as those items as we could for those students. Those items have started to arrive.”

About one hundred students from this area in north Gulfport and Orange Grove will roll through at the Neighborhood Walmart to pick up their gifts. Rotary club leaders say this program comes at a time when it’s needed most. “2020 has been a tough year for everyone, but we still have to have Christmas. Christmas is one of the most important holidays of the year, and all of our kids look forward to this event each year,” said Gaines.

Social distancing will be in place, but there will still be plenty of photo ops to go around. “Students are going to come to our front sidewalk, and they’re going to pick up the items they’ve ordered. They’re going to have the opportunity to meet some elves, possibly Santa as well.”

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