WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Volunteers packed the K-Mart in White Plains Saturday morning to shop for needy families as part of the St. Nicholas of Westchester Shopping Day for Catholic Charities.
Catholic Charities has hosted the event for the past ten years at the K-Mart in Astor Place in Manhattan, said Karen Reynolds, regional supervisor for Catholic Charities. This is the third year that the event has been held in Westchester as well. Reynolds said about 70 volunteers, all wearing red Shopping Day shirts, turned out to buy basic necessities for families in need.
"We shopped for close to 100 families, which covers about 300 individuals. We probably spent over $10,000 here, so it's also good for the local economy," Reynolds said.
The volunteers purchased basic necessities for the families, such as clothes and blankets, using money donated to Catholic Charities. Each shopper was given a profile of a family, including a list of what to buy and each family member's size, and spent $50 per person.
"These are families that we work with throughout the year, who are struggling to put food on the table and pay their bills, and they know that at Christmas time they are not going to be able to afford gifts," Reynolds said.
Penny Pepe was given a profile of a married couple with a 6 year-old daughter. She bought some jeans, a shirt and a hoodie for the father, some pajamas, sweaters and a jacket for the mother, and a scarf, hat, gloves, tops and pants for the little girl.
"It's that time of the season that's all about giving back and helping other people," said Pepe. "I had a lot of fun doing it. I hope they like them."
Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, the executive director of Catholic Charities, was pleased with the turnout. He said that the efforts of the volunteers helped the families have a merrier Christmas.
"It's sad, but even though so many in the county have enough, too many lack the basic necessities. The St. Nicholas shopping day makes sure families have what they need," Sullivan said.
"We knew there was a need here in Westchester, so we said we want to do something fun and involve the whole community," said Susan Salice, one of the trustees for Catholic Charities. "Today was a fabulous turnout, beyond what we anticipated."
The St. Nicholas Shopping Day at the K-Mart in Astor Place will be held next Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. That event is expected to provide necessities for close to 1,000 families.