When walking in the building, the gymnasium was packed with volunteers wearing their black Kids Wish Network shirts. Everyone was busily unpacking boxes of toys while children and families filled the cafeteria to register before receiving their gifts. Everyone was eagerly awaiting “go time” when the room would be filled with excited faces. The volunteers of Monroe County were so organized that it felt like there was little to do before bringing the children into the gymnasium.
The mayor of Madisonville’s wife said, “I am so excited, I feel like a little kid!”
The founder of Kids Wish Network, Shelley Breiner, was dancing in glee at the sight of the amount of people who were still outside waiting to register. What a turnout!!!
As the children waited in line they were greeted with hugs and pictures with characters from Dollywood. This excitement lit up their young faces with joy!
Families come into the gym and are guided to the correct area depending upon the age of their child. They are then given gifts that fill large garbage bags. Most places give children one toy, but here they are getting bags of presents, some bicycles, some wagons…
As soon as a family has gotten their toys, plenty await in the line in the gymnasium that extends through the school to the front parking lot. Approximately 1700 kids will be receiving presents today. Kids will also receive coupons for food and treats from gracious restaurants throughout the county who have sponsored the event.
The children may not understand what is going on while they patiently wait in line, but by their big smiles you can tell they know as they are walking out with their very own toys in their hands.
It is amazing how many people volunteered and came out to support this event!
T-shirts are being shot into the air with an air gun. Such excitement!
A snowman character enters the gymnasium and a little girl, who had to be no more than two-years-old, ran into his arms and gave him the biggest hug, her eyes shining brightly.
One brother takes his little sister to see the Smoky character because she is too nervous to go herself.
We’ve got police officers in full uniform working hard to get these toys out. They are working all types of jobs, from directing families, to opening toy boxes, to handing out toys.
Families are not just getting toys, but strollers and other items that these families really need. It was so amazing and wonderful to be a part of this and get to see so many wishes come true.