The Alcorn Central High School junior was helping a Lighthouse Foundation Toy Store shopper load gifts into her small sedan when he discovered the bike wouldn’t fit.
“There was nothing else we could do to make it fit,” said Smith, a three-year volunteer for the Christmas toy program. “I knew what I had to do.”
He offered to carry the bike – in his own vehicle – to the shopper’s home halfway across Alcorn County.
It was a simple act of kindness he didn’t think twice about.
“I love helping with the Toy Store,” said Smith. “I have an opportunity to have a great Christmas ... and I think other people in this community should, as well.”
Celebrating its 23rd year, the Toy Store welcomed 500 pre-registered Crossroads area families on Thursday who were given the opportunity to select new toys, clothing and supplies for Christmas morning.
“We are helping ensure 1,500 children in Alcorn County truly do have a Merry Christmas,” said Lauren Bulter, one of the store’s coordinators. “It’s pretty amazing what happens here.”
Shoppers preregister for several weeks leading up to the Toy Store’s opening day. Each shopper is assigned a time period during the day they can come shop. Staff allows only 12 shoppers inside the gym every 15 minutes. Prior to each shopper entering the gym, they hear a Christian message from Foundation Executive Director Gary Caveness.
Bulter, in her fifth year with the foundation, said it’s the community and volunteers who deserve the thanks.
“It’s very much a community effort,” she said. “Several churches, community organizations and youth groups come together to make this happen every year.”
Long time Lighthouse accountant Margaret Dennie added, “Nobody cares about getting credit. We are all here for Christ.”
Each shopper can select four toys per child from the store. Shopper assistants push shopping carts and help shoppers select the best toy for their child. Additionally each shopper receives a free bible and a story book bible for each child in the family.
Caveness said earlier this week fundraising is at “approximately the halfway point”.
“Donations are still desperately needed,” he said. “We have faith the community will come together once again to help make the program a success.”
(Donations can be made in person at 1103 South Johns Street in Corinth, by mail to Lighthouse Foundation, P.O. Box 2121, Corinth, MS 38835 or online at lighthousecorinth.org.)