Annual Shopping Event Spreads Holiday Cheer to Local Students
EVERETT, Wash. December 12, 2022—On Saturday, December 3, approximately 40 students loaded into four YMCA buses and headed to Alderwood Mall to shop for essential items like coats, shoes, and warm clothing. The Mill Creek Family YMCA, Rotary Club of Mill Creek, and JCPenney at Alderwood Mall come together every December to host an annual shopping event for Everett School District students.
“The holiday shopping event is probably the top project that our club looks forward to all year,” said Rotarian Dave Gunter. “It’s one of those projects where we can give back directly to the community and we see first-hand the appreciation and joy in the kids’ eyes.”
The Rotary Club of Mill Creek supplies each student with a gift card to shop, JCPenney opens early and offers additional discounts, and the Mill Creek Family YMCA provides buses and drivers to transport students to and from the event. Students are paired up with a volunteer and able to select items. JCPenney also gifted each student with a cozy, holiday blanket.
“We couldn’t do this event without the Mill Creek Y,” said Gunter. “Without transportation, it would make the event a lot harder. We appreciate how helpful and cooperative the Y is every year to get the kids safely to the event. Our partnership is a true blessing.”
The holiday shopping event has happened annually since 2015. The Rotary Club of Mill Creek learned about the event from Rotarian Rick Ferrell who was instrumental in starting the event in Shoreline over 30 years ago before transferring to Mill Creek. He shared the event with the club and they loved the idea and adopted it in the Mill Creek community.
“The unique thing about this event is that different organizations in the greater community are all working together to accomplish something good,” said Gunter. “The Y, Mill Creek Rotary, and JCPenney all contribute to this beautiful event that kicks off the holiday season for local kids and families.”
Students and volunteers alike experience the magic of giving and receiving at the holiday shopping event.
“Words cannot express how incredible this event is for the students,” said Megan Proost, YMCA of Snohomish County Director of Child Care Advancement. “This is a phenomenal opportunity to make a big impact in a child life’s and the Y is privileged to be part of the holiday magic.”