Students Raise Money to Buy Christmas Gifts for Underprivileged Children

Pictured from Left to Right: Jason Townsend, Briley Knowles, Stephanie Studdard, Logan Holden, Stephen Studdard, Maverick Pressnell, Jacob Cottingham, Kayden Townsend, Nick Corn, Josh Cook, Chandler Johnson, Brody Baber, Dylan Scott, Micah Spiros, Austin Allison, J.W. Studdard, Jaxon Thomas, Presley Jo Cook, Kinsley Smith, Isabella Kirkland, Amber Wren, Baylee Nowlin. Front Row: Finn Cook & Aurillia Townsend.

Children in Genoa, Arkansas will have a few more gifts under their Christmas tree this year because of the donations of local students.

Every year, the Genoa Fishing Team works to make the holiday season brighter for the community’s less fortunate children with their Shop For Kids campaign.

On Friday, December 4th, about 20 students from the fishing team went shopping at Wal-Mart Supercenter in Texarkana, Arkansas to buy gifts for families that might not be able to afford Christmas presents.

The students raised the money throughout the year through special events, sponsorship donations and help from the community.

“We try to give back whenever we can,” said Jason Townsend, who’s been leading the team for three years. “We take the money we make from different events and do things like ‘C.A.S.T for Kids’,” he added. C.A.S.T for Kids is an annual event designed to provide children with disabilities an opportunity to enjoy a day of fishing and boating. C.A.S.T for Kids and many of the fishing team’s other fundraisers were canceled this year due to the pandemic.

“This year we couldn’t do as much so they’re glad we got to do this,” said Townsend.

Genoa guidance counselors work to identify students in need and provide the fishing team with a Christmas wish list from each student. The students’ names are kept anonymous, but the team is given information such as their clothes sizes, shoe size and specific toys that the student wishes to receive for Christmas.

This year, the Genoa Fishing Team went shopping for a 9-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy. Their lists included things like jammies, cowboy boots and bicycles. The fishing team was able to raise $500 to spend on the children. Additionally, one of their main sponsors, KW’s Marine & RV Boat Service, graciously donated the bicycles.

After their shopping spree, the team took the presents home to get them wrapped and ready to be handed over to the counselor the following week. Guidance counselors will then hand the presents over to the parents, who will place them under their Christmas tree to be opened on Christmas morning.

For information on how to donate next year, or to learn more about the Genoa Fishing Team, please call Jason Townsend at (903) 556-3603.

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