Dec. 16, 2002
Times have been tough for Kim Kramer.
The job that she had been working ended - and with money being tight, she knew she was going to have a hard time providing a nice Christmas for her daughter, Kassidy, 2.
She heard about the Tim Spears Underprivileged Children's Christmas Fund, though, and signed up to go on the shopping trip at the Big K Kmart in Waynesboro on Sunday.
Kassidy was able to pick out $50 worth of Christmas gifts on the shopping trip.
She was all smiles as she made her way down the toy aisle - and so was her mom.
"I'm in a bind, so this is a big, big help," Kim Kramer told The Augusta Free Press.
Kassidy had a word for us, too.
"Heavy," said Kassidy - one of more than 150 area children who took part in the shopping trip - holding up one of her presents, an educational puzzle game that her mother had picked out for her.
For Spears, a country-music musician and the owner of Tim Spears Music City in downtown Waynesboro, the annual shopping trip is his Christmas.
"This is really my whole family's Christmas every year," Spears told The Augusta Free Press.
Every year since 1980, Spears has devoted his time to raising the money and coordinating the activities that go into making the Christmas Fund a recognized part of the holiday season in the Greater Augusta County area.
"Years ago, this thing went from being something that I do to being something that is the community's. I feel like I'm the steward of the community here," Spears said.
"It's like I feel I have to do what I do to get this going. The community expects it now," Spears said.
'I saw Ho-Ho'
Hannah Sparks, 4, and her twin sister Rachel were sitting in a shopping cart that was full of toys.
"Look at my Barbies," Hannah said, showing off boxes of dolls that her mother, Stacy, had helped her and her sister pick out.
Rachel was more focused on something else - or somebody else.
"I saw Ho-Ho," she said, pointing back to Santa Claus.
Santa made his second straight appearance at the Spears Fund Christmas shopping day.
His friend, Alan Melton - who knows Santa really, really well (wink, wink) - said that his friend ... that is, Santa ... was glad to be there.
"It's great to see the looks on the kids' faces. I really enjoy this," said Melton, a volunteer with the Waynesboro Fire Department.
The volunteer firefighter crew was out in force - with members helping parents and children as they shopped the clothes and toy aisles and then helping bag items at the cash registers.
The volunteers also donated money to the cause to help pay for the shopping trips from their annual auction fund-raiser.
Augusta Expoland was also a key contributor to the cause.
"This is what makes it all worthwhile," Melton said before greeting a young visitor.
"Merry Christmas," he said with a smile and a wave of the hand.
"Thank you," the little girl said to Spears at the checkout counter.
She then offered him a big bearhug.
"You're welcome," Spears said back.
"You want to see what we got?"
What it's all about
"It might not seem like a lot, and really, $50 isn't a whole lot," Spears said.
"But I've seen little girls come through here with Barbie jeans, little boys come through with new toys that they really wanted, and you realize, this means a lot to them.
"For one day, they get to be like the other kids. They get the nice things that they might not be able to get otherwise.
"That's what this is all about," Spears said.
Chris Graham is the co-publisher of The Augusta Free Press.
Tim's Kids 2006
Children are one of his main concerns. Each year, for the last 27 years, he or his friend, Fred Painter has done a benefit concert and gives 100% of the proceeds to these needy children of his home town. He raises it locally, spends it locally and spends it on the local children....Last year, Tim, along with " Shopperones " from his town, and The TIM SPEARS CHRISTMAS FUND, INC. members, they personally took about 400 children shopping a the local K-mart and Wal-mart stores.
Donations appreciated : TIM SPEARS CHRISTMAS FUND, INC. 216 W Main St. WAYNESBORO, VA. 22980
Five Years Ago,
Thanks to the Waynesboro Volunteer firemen, Duane Duncan and Reo Distribution for their contributions in this years efforts............................Also, we raised $ 21,000 and PERSONALLY HAND DELIVERED it to New York City for children of firefighters and emergency workers that lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001 disaster.
GOD BLESS AMERICA !!!
For More Information Contact:
Company Address: TIM SPEARS' MUSIC CITY
WAYNESBORO, VA. 22980