Surprise Squad: How one volunteer’s longtime efforts led to surprise for hundreds

2022 marked Christmas 4 Kids’ 40th anniversary, and the nonprofit is still going strong.
The Surprise Squad surprises hundreds of elementary school children and honor one special Mid-State volunteer.
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 10:23 AM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Thousands of children across the Mid-State are able to experience the joy of Christmas with help from one special organization.

Christmas 4 Kids is a nonprofit organization in Middle Tennessee that gives the gift of Christmas to children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to celebrate on their own.

The organization arranged a fun-filled event for children this year featuring pizza, music, and the opportunity to meet and chat with Santa Claus.

WSMV 4′s Surprise Squad visited the organization’s annual Christmas event on Dec. 13 at the Gallatin Civic Center with a special surprise.

During the event, celebrity-style tour buses transported hundreds of bright-eyed youngsters and hard-working volunteers to the Hendersonville Walmart Supercenter for a holiday shopping spree.

In addition to visiting and meeting hundreds of elementary school children, the Surprise Squad wanted to surprise one special volunteer who has been giving back to her community since she was a little girl.

Christmas 4 Kids volunteer Shawna Winham is among the 600 volunteers who help spread joy and laughter to thousands of children across Middle Tennessee.

Winham has been involved with the nonprofit for several years.

“You get so much more joy when you realize that you’ve given them something or made their day or made their whole year,” said Winham. “It may be the only gift they’re able to receive, and so if you can make that possible, it’s amazing.”

In honor of Winham’s years of service, the Surprise Squad donated $2,000 to help pay for the children’s shopping spree with the help from sponsors, United Community Bank and Dunkin’.

“No better time of the year than a bigger meaning of the holidays and Christmas which is really giving back,” said Commercial Banking Executive at United Community Bank Mark Ryman. “It’s the gift we can give versus the gift we receive.”

Christmas 4 Kids President Linda O’Connell said the totals for each child’s shopping spree can add up quickly and expressed the organization’s gratitude for the Surprise Squad’s holiday surprise.

“We have to raise every dime, so to come up with a gift like this is amazing for us,” said O’Connell.

2022 marked Christmas 4 Kids’ 40th anniversary, and the nonprofit is still going strong.

To donate or learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit the organization’s website.