In keeping with their mission of helping children, members of the Denison Kiwanis Club recently helped fulfill Christmas dreams for about 45 area kids. The group held its annual shopping spree for children the Saturday before Christmas.

“We’re a civic club: both local and international,” saidd Fred Pilkilton Jr. “We serve the community by giving back. Kids is a big focus of ours.”

That day at the Denison Walmart, children, who were chosen based on need, were allowed to spend $50 each on whatever they liked from the store. A Denison police officer or firefighter escorted each child around the store; a popular destination was the toy department.

“We also had Santa Claus there for the kids,” added Pilkilton. “And, we had food items for every family. We paid for everything. We are so glad to do it.”

Pilkilton, who is chairman of the event for the local Kiwanis Club, said 100 percent of money raised is given back to the community. Denison Kiwanis Club holds two major events during the year to raise money including the annual spring circus. In addition to the Denison Kiwanis Club Kids Shopping Spree, the club gives out annual scholarships for graduating high school seniors.

Pilkilton noted that Denison has held the ‘Shopping Spree’ every Christmas since 1990.

The mission of the Denison Kiwanis Club is to serve the children of the local community. All proceeds from fundraising efforts go to help children in Denison and Grayson County, according to the group’s Facebook page.

The Denison Kiwanis Club is part of Kiwanis International, a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.

“We support organizations such as American Cancer Society, Grayson County Shelter, Helping Hands and others. We give scholarships to Denison High School seniors each year as well as take children shopping at Christmas,” said a Denison Kiwanis Club spokesman.

The Denison Club meets Tuesdays at noon at Stone Brook, 1616 Lifesearch Way in Denison.

Kiwanis International is a global community of clubs, members and partners dedicated to improving the lives of children one community at a time. KI has more than 550,000 members in 80 countries and geographic areas. Each community has different needs, and Kiwanis empowers members to pursue creative ways to serve the needs of children, such as fighting hunger, improving literacy and offering guidance.

Service is at the heart of every Kiwanis club, no matter where in the world it’s located. Members stage approximately 150,000 service projects and raise nearly $100 million every year for communities, families and projects. By working together, members achieve what one person cannot accomplish alone.