An estimated 300 children crowded into the community building Saturday to get a helping hand with their Christmas shopping.
An estimated 300 children crowded into the community building Saturday to get a helping hand with their Christmas shopping. The annual Mini Main event, sponsored by McPherson Main Street, offers children chances to purchase gifts for their loved ones for $10 or less. The children brought their lists and were assisted by volunteer “elves” to fulfill their shopping needs. Volunteers also helped wrap gifts. Eighty dozen cookies were baked for the event, crafts were offered, and Ellene McKean and Associates Realtors and Walgreens teamed up to offer free photos with Santa. More than 100 volunteers worked the event Saturday. Tanisha Wilbourn and Baylie Blovin, sophomores at Moundridge High School, volunteered for their second year at the event. They gift wrapped presents for the children. “(The children) are so cute,” Wilbourn said. “They are so cute to see.” Sidney Lipton, a sophomore at McPherson College, volunteered as an elf for the event and helped children shop for their gifts. “I think a lot of them felt happy to be able to shop for their moms and dads,” she said. Brendon Blake, a McPherson High School senior, also volunteered as an elf and said he thought the children felt more involved when they could pick out their own presents. “I really like helping other people,” Blake said, “and it was a lot easier than I expected.” Some of the groups that volunteered for the event included the McPherson Hospital Auxiliary, McPherson and Central college students, National Honor Society, KAY Club, FCCLA, Girl Scouts and Bullpup Scholars. Businesses and organizations donate money in order to have tables at the event. Some businesses lower the cost on items or order in special items for the Mini Main, Ann Engel, McPherson Main Street director, said. The money from the purchases go back to the businesses. Eighteen businesses and organizations participated in the event this year. Money raised from the table donations goes to purchase wrapping paper, tags and other items for the event. Main Street also takes donations of wrapping materials after the Christmas season to be used during the following year’s Mini Main. These items can be taken to the McPherson Main Street office, 306 N. Main St., during business hours. “I think overall it was a success,” Engel said. “I asked the college students who volunteered as elves if they would do it again, and they said yes. I think it is a very good way for students who are away from home to connect with the community during the holidays.”