With the help from volunteers, members of the McKinleyville Lions Club will help over 700 local schoolchildren find gifts for family members and friends. Every student is given a 'Santa Buck' that is good for four presents.
The 'Winter Express' sponsored by the Lions Club and several local businesses is held at the Dows Prairie Grange every year. Students from five different schools, with the help of their own personal shopper, can choose from different gifts and have them wrapped.
Cyndi Bainbridge, an organizer of the event, said the event helps to teach students about how it feels to give a gift instead of receiving one. "It's important to let the kids realize what it means to give and how it feels to receive gifts as well," said Bainbridge.
Several of the volunteers help out every year as a way to give back. Randy Wilson has been volunteering for three years and takes time off from work to work at the event.
Wilson said each year students who do not receive gifts have a chance to get a holiday gift. "There are some kids that don't have any other options and even if it's just a few presents within the household," said Wilson.