Just in time for the holidays, the Metro-East Paramedic Association teamed up with the O’Fallon-Shiloh Emergency Medical Services crew to host its first “Christmas for Kids” holiday shopping event for 12 local children who attend Shiloh and O’Fallon schools.
“MEPA members and O’Fallon-Shiloh paramedics led each child around the store picking out a wide variety of items. Toys, clothes and games were picked out by the child and purchased by MEPA,” Jeremy Sherman, O’Fallon-Shiloh EMS paramedic supervisor, said.
Children were primarily from the Shiloh School District, and were chosen by local school administrators and staff, Jeremy said.
The event took place on Saturday, Dec. 17 at the Shiloh Green Mount Crossing Shopping Center retailer Target.
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“We had a generous donation from Tim Hortons in O’Fallon. They provided our event with donuts, hot chocolate and coffee for everyone involved,” Sherman said.
MEPA had volunteers who help run the V.P. Fair St. Louis beverage stand they have every year, Sherman said.
“It’s really great for them to come and see the fruits of their labor so to speak, and see just where the money goes because in the past we just hand over a check to MEPA that is the percentage left over in money raised from the booth after the V.P. Fair share is taken out, but this year we invited those volunteers to shop with us to see just what we do to help the community,” Sherman said.
MEPA member Rebecca Sherman echoed the positive extolment of the others involved with the event.
“It brought me joy to see all the kids so excited,” Rebecca Sherman said.
O’Fallon-Shiloh Paramedic Donna Conklin is a fixture at the EMS department with her years of tenure.
“This was one of the greatest experiences to share with a child,” Conklin said.
The event commenced on a happy note for everyone, Jeremy Sherman said, because Santa Claus was on hand to visit with the children.
At the end of the event, MEPA wrote a check for over $4,000,” Jeremy Sherman said.
“We do two large fundraising events each year. The $4,000 is just a part collected during those events, which we are always looking for more volunteers to help man the MEPA stand at the V.P. Fair St. Louis over the summer,” he said. “We plan to make this an annual event.”
The EMS department has been looking for sometime to do an event like this, Jeremy Sherman said, adding, “It was awesome to see it all come together.”