Shoppers sweep up prizes at charity event

  • Gorham’s Race for Presents (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Children and adults swept up thousands of dollars worth of free gifts last night during Gorham’s Race for Presents and a charity campaign.

Three charities selected four children in need to take part, while about 15 adults won the chance to participate through a voucher draw system.

They were all given one minute to run through the aisles searching for complimentary presents to bring them some festive cheer.

Power tools, electric cooking equipment and tons of toys were all on the list of items donated by the store leaving the adults as excited as the children.

Gorham’s has held the Race for Presents drive for several years but this was the first year to include a charitable children’s race alongside it.

Adults were tasked with finding ready wrapped presents with mystery prizes in them while children were given free rein to grab whatever they could in the toys aisle within the 60-second time limit.

But the fun didn’t end there. At the end of the grab, senior manager at Gorham’s Rod Farrington announced that not only had Butterfield and Vallis donated a bag of groceries to the children’s guardians, each child was given the opportunity to pick out a bike of their choice to take home with them.

The event was the second event of its kind this year with the Continental Society, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Bermuda and the Bermuda Red Cross selecting the lucky entrants.

In the adult race, Cindy Mitchell picked the most valuable present — an electrical cocktail maker worth $550. She said: “It’s fantastic. I love margaritas, I’ll use it in the summertime and wintertime.”

Sophia Araujo and Stephan Pacheco won an electrical grinder worth a couple of hundred dollars which they said would come in handy for their business.

Ms Araujo said: “We have an event planning company so it will be useful for us — Stephen explained to me it’s not a sander but grinds off things like rust from metal. It was the first present I saw so I just grabbed it — I’ve never won anything in my life so I’m really happy.”

Trevor Smith who won an impact driver worth in the region of $300 said: “I’ll definitely use it because I fix my own bike.”

The four children Chamilla DeCosta, 5, Nakia Smith, 10, Zeni Hansey, 8, and Teresa-Rose Burchall, 9, walked away with bags full of presents totalling about $3,200 of valuables including the bikes. Among their prizes were Barbie dolls, a treasure box, a fishing rod and even a helicopter drone.

During its eight-month Share the Joy campaign, Gorham’s has also donated one dollar from the sales of certain items to go towards the charities and donated all of the store gifts for the Race for Presents drive.

Each charity was given a table in the store for a month each to tell their stories and collect donations. Customers have also been donating funds at the cash register.

Mr Farrington told The Royal Gazette: “We let all the charities pick a child in need to come and have 60 seconds in the store to get what they want. We like to do fun things and get people excited and this is the perfect way to do it. We have never done a children’s race before and they had a ball.

“All three charities are extremely involved in Bermuda and work with children — this is our Share the Joy campaign so they were a good match. We are sure this event will continue in the future.”