Christmas came early for some Pettis County children this weekend with help from a local business and emergency responders.

Members of the Sedalia Police Department, Pettis County Sheriff’s Office, Sedalia Fire Department, Pettis County Ambulance District and Missouri State Highway Patrol were at Walmart in Sedalia Saturday morning to assist children as they shopped for Christmas gifts at the “biggest ever” Sedalia/Pettis County Area Children’s Christmas Event hosted by Williams Woody Nissan.

“That’s the most we’ve ever done…” said Williams Woody Nissan owner Jackie Woody. “I think it went fantastic this year. It was smooth and easy. With all of the volunteers that came to shop we were able to just send them through shopping when they came in. The kids were excited and happy. We were quite pleased.”

Williams Woody raises all the funds for the event each year, which purchases $100 Walmart gift cards for lower-income children to use to buy Christmas presents. The dealership then partners with the Missouri Valley Community Action Agency, which places children in need of assistance with the dealership for the event. 

Woody previously told the Democrat the event helped 140 children last year and their goal for this year was 150. They far surpassed that goal and were able to help 180 children get Christmas presents. This includes a number of children from the Sedalia School District 200. 

“We were able to send money to the Sedalia school system as well and they are taking several kids shopping,” she explained. “The staff of the school system actually takes the children shopping with the (gift) cards as well.”

Woody also said they had more volunteers they had ever had before this year and it was “amazing” how the emergency responders came and stayed for the whole event. 

“So many people donated this year,” said Woody. “We really did not have to struggle for donations this year. They just kept rolling in. It was stress-free, it was the most donations we’ve ever received. Walmart was very, very helpful as well…

“Everybody has a part in it, that’s just it. I mean we started it and we get the word going out there but we couldn't do it by ourselves. We’re just a little part of it.”

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