Local couple distribute gifts to over 30 children

Published 12:10 pm Thursday, December 22, 2022

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A Jessamine County couple raised money to give Christmas gifts to 35 children last weekend. With a Grinch costume, a Santa costume, a mule wagon, and a few generous donations, Jerry Waldridge and Penny Alves raised $1,800 for local kids.

“Jerry just felt like the Lord put it on his hand to come up with something,” said Jerry’s fiancee, Penny Alves. The two said they relied on prayer for an idea and decided to give presents to local kids. They named the project Spinning The Wagon Wheel Just For Kids.

In November, they published a Facebook post to look for needy families.

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“We had lots and lots of messages come in,” Alves said. “Different people had different stories of why they needed help this year.”

Initially, Waldridge and Alves would ask for donations, including toys and cash. But eventually, Waldridge realized raising money wouldn’t be enough since they had already taken several children.

That’s when they charged for photos with Waldridge in the Grinch and Santa costumes and selling wagon rides.

“Let’s utilize all of our resources,” Alves said. “That’s when it started flourishing.”

This was a last-minute project. From the weekend after Thanksgiving until Sunday, December 11, Alves and Waldridge worked each day to raise enough money.

Soon, their kitchen had become a toy shop.

“We had a house full of toys,” Waldridge said. The two listed toys from trucks and tractors, Pokemon cards, and a basketball to makeup and slime kits.

Alves’ mother, Vicki Winer, helped wrap the Christmas presents, and the couple’s daughter, Auriana, helped. Waldridge and Alves delivered the gifts in their mule wagon from Friday, December 16, to Sunday, December 18.

“We actually did pretty good because all the families that we took, every one of them got just about everything they liked or wanted,” Waldridge said. The couple also gave each child an age-appropriate bible donated by the Nick Ratliff realty group.

“It is a rewarding feeling because we want to say thank you to everybody who contributed, took a wagon ride, and had their pictures taken,” Alves said.

Waldridge echoed that sentiment.

“Because without them, we couldn’t have done it,” Waldridge said.