Service group fills 29 families’ Christmas wish lists

Sun News correspondentDecember 18, 2013 

SPECIAL TO THE SUN NEWSAnna Bell, a junior at Warner Robins High School, sits on the floor as she wraps presents at the KAZ Christmas for Kids event Saturday.

WARNER ROBINS -- There was a large group of teenagers in town on Saturday morning with Christmas lists, but they weren’t mailing them to Santa. Instead they were playing Santa at the 24th annual KAZ Christmas for Kids.

KAZ is a high school service organization founded in 1983 by Mary Ann Branch Coskery. While the organization provides social activities for students, the main goal of KAZ has always been service to the community

Christmas for Kids was coordinated through the Houston County Division of Family and Children Services office. KAZ members gathered at Green Acres Baptist Church to receive money and directions for their shopping trip. Members were divided into groups and assigned families who had provided wish lists.

“One of the unique things about this is that the referrals come from professionals such as DFCS workers, pastors and school counselors that know of the need,” said Martha Ard, a volunteer with the event whose two daughters, Carly and Laurie, are former members of KAZ.

In all, 29 families received a complete Christmas via KAZ, with gifts, food and a turkey.

After their shopping trip, KAZ members returned to the church to wrap the gifts and then deliver them to the families.

“You know that they can’t really afford this stuff, and sometimes when you take it (to them) they just break down and cry,” said Camille Segarra, a KAZ member.

“The best part for me is seeing the kids all happy,” said KAZ member Madyson Carlson.

Along with helping families, the activity is a pay it forward kind of lesson for the KAZ members.

“The kids really take this personally and get very excited about how much they can purchase for their families. They will take these memories with them after they leave KAZ,” said Coskery.

“I think it also makes them more appreciative of what they have in their own lives,” said Ard.

Contact Alline Kent at 478-396-2467 or allinekent@cox.net.

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