By Bradley Robertson
For the Opelika Observer
On Dec. 10, The Hudson Family Foundation hosted its 10th annual “Shop with Santa” event at the Tiger Town Target location, opening its doors to kids, parents, volunteers, Hudson family and even Santa Claus for a night of smiles, laughter, fellowship and gifts.
The evening began with Tim Hudson reading of “The Night Before Christmas.” Santa sat close by as children nestled upon beanbags and pillows to hear the popular tale of Santa. Tim, with his calm and kind demeanor, made the children giggle with his smiles and enthusiasm as he described Santa’s cherry nose and round belly.
Next, Santa Claus visited with each child. Children of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and abilities got to sit upon his knee and tell their own stories of Christmas. Hopes and dreams, grins and giggles. All the things children long for during this season.
Parents gazed at an opportunity many of us take for granted. A piece of hope placed into their hands, along with simple joy, something we all cling to in the years to come.
The greatest gift of this event is the opportunity for each child to walk around Target and pick out something special for Christmas. A total of 150 children were given a $100 Target gift card to use. Volunteers assisted families in picking out gifts to put under their tree, items that consisted of clothes, food, necessities and mostly toys. It was shopper’s chaos but with a multitude of smiles and helping hands.
Families finished up their shopping in the checkout line and a wrapping station was set up by volunteers to hide all the goodies till Christmas morning. Children received last smiles and hugs by the Hudson’s and off they went with their packages until Christmas morning.
“It’s probably our favorite night of the year,” said Kim Hudson. “There is nothing like seeing the pure joy on the kiddos’ faces and the happiness of parents who know that we truly care and want to do what we can to bring joy and peace and love to them at Christmas.”
My curiosity led me to the poem by Christina Rossetti, Love Came Down at Christmas. She writes, “Love shall be our token. Love shall be yours and love be mine…”
Love is meant for all. Ever so thankful for the Hudson Family and the love they shower upon our community.