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Marines spread holiday cheer by buying Christmas gifts for kids

The initiative is a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of NE Wisconsin

ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WFRV) - The holiday season will be extra special for area children, thanks to several U.S. Marines.  Marines from the Green Bay Marine Corps Reserve Center spent Wednesday morning shopping for gifts for more than 100 kids at the Shopko in Bay Park Square Mall.

The initiative is a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeastern Wisconsin, a non-profit youth mentoring organization serving Brown, Door, and Shawano Counties.  The gifts selected during the shopping event will be distributed at Big Brothers Big Sisters' holiday party on December 14th.

"What we do is we shop for children in our program to get gifts," said Katie Hess, the organization's Executive Director. "We select the gifts based on what children are coming to our holiday party... And we'll have about 300 people that come to our holiday party in total - that includes parents, "bigs", and the families of the "littles"... And so when we know that they're coming to the holiday party, we already know what types of things that they like and what their interests are and what we think that they would enjoy for Christmas."

The event highlights the Marines' Toys for Tots program, which provides new toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in Big Brothers Big Sisters' mentoring programs, and their siblings.

"The best part of it is - I like to tell everybody - it's the inner child that I have, being able to buy for someone else's children, so it fills me up with warmth as far as being able to give back," said Sergeant John Stradford, who added he was once a "little" in Big Brothers Big Sisters.

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