“We started this at the old Ben Franklin store on Front Street,” said Joe Tognoli about Catasauqua Lions Club’s annual Christmas shopping spree Dec. 15. Catasauqua Area School District selects some deserving elementary school youngsters, who get whisked off to the Walgreens on Schoenersville Road to pick out gifts — courtesy of the Lions Club.
Ken Jones, Walgreens’ store manager, helps with the program every year. The group of 18 kids takes over the store for about an hour.
The Lions Club solicits funds throughout the year to help pay for the event. Other supporters include Catasauqua Community Thrift Shop, Gary’s Gulf Auto Repair and Kennan Roofing and Siding.
Club volunteer Bridget Simmons, with some help from friends, has the task of keeping 18 very excited kids focused.
The biggest need is for someone to take the children through the aisles to select gifts. That task is handled by the Varsity “C” Club. The Lions Club and their supporters pick up the tab.
After the gifts are collected and tagged, Doug Newhard loads the gifts into his car and races home — where a contingent from the Lions Club, their wives and their friends start wrapping.
The kids head to Burger King for lunch.
The wrapped gifts are loaded back into cars, after which the Lions Club members start planning next year’s fundraising so they can do it all over again.