KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- On Dec. 7, more than 300 Weigel's employees and volunteers came together and brought holiday dreams to life for more than 170 local children in need.
This year marked the 15th year of Weigel's Family Christmas, an event for underprivileged children from the greater Knoxville area. The children served ranged in age from five to seven years old and were each given $150 for a holiday shopping spree at North Knoxville's Kmart store on Broadway.
"There's nothing better than seeing a child light up because their holiday season just got a little brighter," said Kurt Weigel, chief customer officer. "Watching the kids pick out gifts for family is so touching and something I'm proud to be a part of and look forward to every year."
Since the program's inception in 1999, it has affected more than 1,400 children. Every year, the Salvation Army leverages its Angel Tree program to select deserving participants. Weigel's organizes the event and provides funding.
"It's truly amazing to have watched this program grow. We started by bringing seven kids on a shopping spree, now we bring more than 170 kids annually," said Weigel. "As of this year, we've touched more than 1,400 children with this tradition."
Prior to shopping, the children gathered for a Weigel's hosted breakfast and refreshments in a local gymnasium. Weigel's transported the children by bus to the store where volunteers met to chaperone the children and help handpick gifts.
"I see volunteers return year after year," Weigel said. "They love watching the kids shop and seeing their faces light up. Truly, it makes our holiday season as much as we help make theirs."
Weigel's Farm Stores Inc. operates 63 dairy and convenience stores, all within a 50-mile radius of corporate headquarters in Powell, Tenn.