Help Save Shop With A Warrior

NC+staff+and+students+diligently+work+to+incorporate+COVID-19+protocols+into+the+beloved+SWAW+tradition.+Donations%2C+student+volunteers%2C+social+distancing%2C+and+holiday+masks+will+allow+2020%E2%80%99s+SWAW+to+continue+to+bring+holiday+cheer+to+underprivileged+children+across+Kennesaw+and+Acworth.

Courtesy of Carol Thompson

NC staff and students diligently work to incorporate COVID-19 protocols into the beloved SWAW tradition. Donations, student volunteers, social distancing, and holiday masks will allow 2020’s SWAW to continue to bring holiday cheer to underprivileged children across Kennesaw and Acworth.

Amber Roldan, Features Editor

Shop With A Warrior constitutes a beloved tradition that holds a special place in the hearts of NC’s community. Beginning in 2005, SWAW followed the lead of KMHS who began their esteemed Shop With A Mustang program the previous year. SWAW gifts underprivileged children within NC’s community with the irreplaceable experience of Christmas shopping for themselves and their family members. NC hosts this annual event each December. Children arrive at the welcoming doors of NC’s Performing Arts Center, quickly greeted by a group of NC students who serve as the child’s escorts throughout the exciting day. Buses then transport each NC group to the nearest Walmart where each elementary schooler will spend $100 on Christmas presents for their family members.

“SWAW is always such a special experience, I love being able to connect with the kids and watch their faces brighten as they pick out gifts for their family members,” junior Miriam Hein said.

Traditionally, NC students form groups of four and raise $25 each, a total of $100 per group for each little Warrior shopper. This year, SWAW will look different due to the COVID-19 pandemic along with social distancing regulations. In order to safely execute SWAW, only 60 elementary schoolers will receive the opportunity to participate this year. Each child will be paired with 2 NC students. 

Although smaller groups protect shoppers and NC students from the spread of COVID-19, it brings in less revenue. In order to present each little warrior shopper with $100 to spend on Christmas gifts, NC’s community must put their best foot forward to help raise the remaining expenses to help protect the tradition of SWAW.

 In order to successfully host SWAW, NC will rely on donations from their cherished community and alumni. These donations will grant NC the ability to provide students and staff members with SWAW t-shirts and allow each little warrior shopper to take home an NC sweatshirt. Donations will also aid NC with covering transportation needs for the event. Traditionally, after checking out at Walmart, NC students return to the cafeteria greeted by the mouthwatering scent of pizza. Unfortunately, in order to adhere to the CDC’s guidelines, a pizza party will not make it onto SWAW’s 2020 agenda. Instead, donations will go towards sending each little warrior home with a goodie bag full of snacks and hygiene products.

After a year of unforeseen darkness and negativity, NC’s community needs SWAW more than ever. COVID-19 hit low-income families in NC’s community hard, numerous families found themselves faced with the challenge of unemployment. This financial struggle will force multiple local families to scrimp more than usual when it comes to the holiday season. SWAW will allow the children of these families to hold onto a small part of Christmas, preserving the holiday spirit after a year of obstacles.

 Join NC in their fight to save this meaningful tradition. Alumni donations will grant SWAW with the ability to continue to create lifelong memories for both NC students and little warrior shoppers. Donors can write and mail checks to NC with “Shop With A Warrior” written on the memo line. To arrange other types of donations, email Kennedy Reece at [email protected] Donations will foster the holiday spirit within NC’s community allowing 2020 to end on a positive note for all participating in this year’s SWAW.