AVON — Each December, Franklin County area children are offered the chance to shop for their families and buy affordable items donated by local business and individuals.

On Saturday, dozens of youngsters attended the Children’s Christmas Shopping Event at the Avon Town Office.

Volunteer organizer and elf Joyce Potter said a local resident, the late Nana Haines, started the event 20 years ago, so children could understand the joy of giving. Proceeds stay in a fund through the Phillips Community Church, United Church of Christ, to defray miscellaneous costs for wrapping paper and ribbons and other items.

Digital media has made the work and communications easier. Potter posted her happy thoughts before the event on the Phillips Community Facebook page and shared her thanks for the work of others.

“It is soooo amazing in the number of people of all ages who are helping keep this event strong,” she wrote. “Expect to see a lot of smiles. No frowns will be allowed.”

Children were accompanied by adults, who were required to stay with Santa and Mrs. Claus in a waiting area while their youngsters shopped.

Winter Marie Tourtelotte, 3, said she was buying gifts for her parents and grandparents.

Elf Hope Silver, a junior at Mt. Abram High School, helped Blake Haines, 5, shop for several family members. He waited patiently as his gifts were wrapped by one of the other volunteers and helped make the gift tags for each one. He found the perfect present for his father, he said. Potter said at least 70 children came to the event, and helpers wrapped more than 400 presents.

Blake Haines, 5, attended the annual Christmas shopping event for children at the Avon Town Office on Saturday. Gifts cost 25 cents each and included hand-knit mittens, hats and scarves, practical tools, household items and toys. (Valerie Tucker photo)

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