300 children receive $100 gift cards for holiday shopping spree at local toy store

300 children receive $100 gift cards for holiday shopping spree at local toy store
December 24
00:00 2015
Photo by Tevin Stinson
A volunteer from Flow Chevrolet helps two local children shop for toys during the Toys R Us gift card giveaway event on Wednesday, Dec. 16.

By Tevin Stinson

For The Chronicle

Three hundred children from the Triad were treated to a shopping spree Wednesday, Dec. 16 thanks to the Chris Paul Family Foundation and the Josh Howard Foundation.

Since 2008 the two organizations have teamed up during Christmas to give local children $100 Toys R Us gift cards to spend however they chose. The children who participated were handpicked by leaders at local organizations including the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, the city’s recreation centers and area elementary schools.

Along with the gift cards, participants also received t-shirts and tickets to an upcoming Wake Forest Basketball game.

Charles and Robin Paul, the parents of professional basketball player Chris Paul, both mentioned how excited they are to see the event grow.

“The event has really grown over the years,” said Charles. “We usually have around 150 kids participate and this year we were able to double that number.”

According to the Paul family, Flow Chevrolet and GMC played a major role in helping the event reach new heights. Robin Paul said the partnership allowed them to reach out to more families who may have a hard time buying Christmas gifts.

“Flow Chevrolet and GMC have been a big help this year,” said Robin. “They reached out to us earlier this year and said they wanted to help. We are grateful for their help and everything they have done to make this possible.”

Robin said giving back is important to her because of the way it makes her feel. She mentioned she is a firm believer that every child should have at least one present to open on Christmas morning.

“We know the importance of giving back and we try to give back to the community as much as possible,” she said. “It makes you feel good to know that you are helping a young boy or girl that may not have much to open on Christmas.”

While the children were excited to run free around the store, many were just as excited to take a photo with former Wake Forest All-American Josh Howard. Howard said that as a native of the city, it is important to return home and give back to the community as well as encourage the youth.

“I try to give back as much as possible not only during the holiday season but year ‘round. That’s what the foundations is all about,” he said. “This community helped make me become who I am today so I try to impact the city and the kids anyway I can.”

A number of volunteers who helped children browse the store for the perfect toy said seeing the look on the faces of the children when they find that toy they’ve been asking for all winter is what made them volunteer for the event.

Ben Esposito of Winston-Salem has been volunteering for the event since the beginning, after hearing about the event from a friend when he was in the sixth grade. Esposito said he looks forward to returning every year.

“It’s nice to give to those in need because we all need a helping hand once in a while,” he said. “Hanging out with Chris and Josh is pretty cool too. I look forward to seeing the event grow in the future. I think with more sponsors, it will continue to grow.”


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