By Susan Redden
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Employees of Con-Way Truckload of Joplin were into the holiday spirit on Thursday as they swarmed the Joplin Target store shopping for Christmas gifts that will go to area families in need.
It was the 19th annual “Truckloads of Treasures” event for the company and its employees, who raised nearly $60,000 for the shopping spree.
More than 200 workers, spouses and other family members were given shopping lists for families and the elderly served by the Joplin Salvation Army. They scattered through the store, picking out toys, clothing, blankets, food and other needs.
“What we end up with is about 100 employees and family members shopping for about 100 families,” said Donovan Edwards, a member of the organizing committee. “Counting kids and the elderly, we expect to buy for about 400 people.”
He said the event is a favorite activity for company workers who raise money for it throughout the year.
“Sometimes the list will include toys and games, but just as often, it’s clothing and shoes and coats,” he said. “It tugs at your heart — these are things that we take for granted.”
Saul Gonzalez, company president, was among the shoppers on Thursday.
“It’s good for the community, and we all have fun doing it,” he said, as he shopped for clothing in the toddler department.
Lilly VanDomblen and daughter Elizabeth, 8, shopped for girls’ gifts while Derek VanDomblen, company financial officer, and son Grant, 11, were shopping for boys on their list. Lilly VanDomblen said she appreciates families being included in the shopping.
“It gives all of us a way to give back to the community,” she said.
Lt. Jamie Curry and others from the Joplin Salvation Army were on hand Thursday helping at the checkout, and helping to load a Con-Way tractor trailer that was used to take the purchases to Salvation Army headquarters. She said this is her second year to be in Joplin and involved in the shopping event.
“Last year, it was overwhelming, but it’s so much fun, too,” she said. “They’re good shoppers; they know how to stretch a dollar.”
In addition to the shopping spree, checks of $3,000 each were presented to the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Missouri, Area Agency on Aging, Children’s Haven, Camp Quality, House of Hope, Joplin Pro-Musica, the Ronald McDonald House and The Bridge Ministries.