On Saturday, December 7th, excitement filled the chilly early morning air as brokers and team members from six Eastside Windermere offices gathered at the Target at Factoria Square Mall. Their mission? To share the spirit of the holidays with 102 local school children and their families.
Celebrating its 18th year, Windermere for Kids is one of the Eastside’s most cherished traditions. “This is the day of the year we all look forward to the most,” said Jenn Penn, a broker from the Bellevue South office. “In my 16 years at Windermere, I’ve never missed this and always want to be a shopper.”
Every child was given a Target gift card and partnered with a broker to shop the store and purchase holiday presents for their families. Wrapping stations staffed by festively dressed brokers and team members were set up in the mall where all gifts were wrapped, tagged and packaged up for the kids to take home to their families.
As an extra special surprise, brokers also secretly selected a gift for their little shopping partner which was also wrapped up to take home with the others.
While waiting on gift wrapping, kids and their families were treated to crafts, snacks and pictures with Santa. “It was so nice to see the smile on the little girl’s face,” Jenn said of her Little Shopper. “It can be nerve-wracking at first because the kids are going shopping with strangers. But she had a great time and was laughing at me for being a goofball in the background during her photo with Santa.”
Community, giving back and fostering relationships are core Windermere values. Supported by brokers and hosted in lieu of a large company party, the Windermere for Kids event has delivered the holiday spirit to local families since its inception in 1998.
“My dad heard about this concept from a rotary group who hosted a similar event,” explained Matt Deasy, President of Windermere Real Estate/East, Inc. “The next year, Windermere took it over. It’s so much better to help 100 kids with their own giving instead of having a bunch of appetizers and loud music at a corporate holiday party. The event matches our giving philosophy and entirely matches the spirit of our agents.”