Dec. 1 marked the 21st anniversary of Weigel’s Family Christmas, an event created to bring more than 200 local children in need together with more than 300 volunteers for a special Christmas shopping spree.
Powell, Tennessee-based Weigel’s celebrated their 21 years of teaming with the Salvation Army to bring the event to underprivileged children from Knoxville and the surrounding areas. The children range in age from five years old to nine years old and are each given $150 for their shopping spree at Target on Clinton Highway.
“This has been a very special and meaningful event since we started it 20-plus years ago,” said Kurt Weigel, training and recruiting director. “Our volunteers are often entire families, coming together to give back to our community. We’re especially excited to see the growth of this special event, which has required us to seek a new, larger facility. We are excited to be at the Knoxville Expo Center this year so we can comfortably accommodate more children this year and for years to come”.
Every year, the Salvation Army selects the children to participate, and Weigel’s organizes the event and provides funding. Since the program’s inception in 1998, it has impacted more than 3,800 children.
“We started by bringing six kids shopping, and now we invite more than 200,” said Bill Weigel, chairman. “The gracious support of the many volunteers and our vendor partners makes the day possible. This event embodies the true spirit of Christmas.”
Prior to shopping, the volunteers prepared a complimentary breakfast for the children at the Knoxville Expo Center. Many volunteers stay back to prepare lunch for the children’s return, while other volunteers wait at Target to meet and help the children manage the money and handpick gifts.
“This December is especially heartwarming to now be able to reflect on many years of our volunteers impacting the lives of these kids, as well as the kids making an impact on our volunteers,” Bill Weigel said. “We love watching the kids shop and seeing their faces light up. This day is special, filled with smiles galore and tears of joy, and it truly makes our holiday season as much as we help make theirs.”
Weigel’s operates 66 convenience stores, a dairy and a bakery, all within a 100-mile radius of its corporate headquarters in Powell.