ROY — Devin Spencer made his list and checked it twice Saturday morning. The 12-year-old shopped for everyone on his list and carefully wrapped packages for eight brothers and sisters, his mom and dad and step-parents, all while other family members ate breakfast and visited Santa.
“This is fun. I’ve got stuff for everyone in my family. Everyone!” he exclaimed as he showed a list names, with check marks alongside each.
Spencer, along with about 1,500 to 2,000 other people from Weber and Davis counties, participated in the Boys & Girls Club’s Breakfast with Santa on Saturday at the Hope Community Center.
The event is a combination of many things — a breakfast, a visit with Santa, time for youths to shop for Christmas gifts for their families and a gently used boutique for moms to pick up items their families may be lacking.
Teen- and college-age volunteers sported Santa hats and worked as personal shoppers for the children who went to the basement of the Hope Center to find room after room filled with gifts that they could choose for family members.
“Some of these kids’ families just can’t do Christmas, so this gives them an opportunity to learn what it feels like to give,” said Jodi Lunt, who organizes the gift-giving part of the event.
She said several LDS wards in the North Ogden and Pleasant View areas started in October to gather money and gifts for Saturday’s event. Volunteers from Weber and Davis counties have been working in force all week, organizing gifts and setting up things at the center.
More volunteers on Saturday helped the children pick out and wrap, as well as helping out with whatever else was needed. Lunt gathered $8,000 in cash donations to buy gifts and figures she had at least $4,000 more in-kind donations of toys, gifts and supplies for the day.
Janene Muller, president of the board for the Boys & Girls Club said she was very impressed with the generosity of the community.
“Giving has been more flat and I think that is a sign of the economy, but those that were able (to do so) gave significant donations,” Muller said.
Muller said this was one of the biggest turnouts they had ever had at the event in its 10 year history. “There is a lot of need out there this year,” she said.
The children were thrilled with their morning. Many walked around with garbage bags full of gifts behind their backs, many wearing Santa hats and big grins.
Joe Trigueros carefully spelled out his parents’ names and made a stack of his gifts. He smiled and patted the stack.
“They won’t open these until Christmas,” he said. He attends the Boys & Girls Club daily after school and heard about the event there. He has come in years past and looks forward to meeting new friends that help him as a personal shopper for the day.
For volunteer Sherrie Henderson, the day is one of the best of the Christmas season. Her whole family — children, grandchildren and husband — all spend the day and many days before, volunteering.
“This is so fun and wonderful,” she said as she helped two young girls wrap gifts.
Lunt she talked about watching the kids pick out gifts and the generosity of others she sees in the event.
“This is what it’s about. Seeing the light of the children’s eyes. This is really how our community starts Christmas,” she said.
Fuller said the event is really the key to what the Boys & Girls Club is all about.
“It fits in with the principles of the Boys & Girls Club, to watch people give and watch the community be able to come together. It really embodies the greatness of Roy city and the Boys & Girls Club.”