The Island Eye News Staff Report
Christmas is the season of giving and one Sullivan’s Island 8-year-old certainly did that this year.
With help from his big brother and the Sullivan’s Island Co-op, Tanner Volkmann raised more than $150 to provide Christmas gifts for three kids through the East Cooper Community Outreach Adopt-a-Family holiday program.
Volkmann, a thirdgrader at East Cooper Montessori Charter School, and his 6th-grade brother Calvin played guitar and sold homemade Palmetto reindeer at The Co-Op the first Sunday in December and left several reindeer and a donation jar on display at the Co-Op throughout the month to raise money to buy the gifts.
“This started as his school peace project, and Tanner really wanted to do something for local kids at Christmas, so when I found the Adopt-A-Family program online, it seemed like the perfect fit,” said Laurie Volkmann, Tanner’s mother. “But part of the point of the peace project is to really put in some time and effort in bettering your community, so by doing a small fundraiser to earn money to buy the gifts for the kids really helped Tanner be invested in the effort. And we’re very appreciative of The Co-Op being so open to the boys playing guitar and selling their reindeer to make this happen.”
ECCO provides an online list of families who need some help to provide a great Christmas for their children. Identified by a number only, kids provide a “wishlist” and then sponsoring families or businesses buy gifts from the list and drop off at ECCO’s “Santa’s Closet” location throughout one week during December. Then parents can pick up the gifts provided, wrap them and give to their children.
“It’s really just a wonderful way to help parents give the gifts they’d love to provide but may not have the means to do it,” Volkmann said. “After discovering it online and doing it this year, I’m such a fan of the idea.”
For Tanner, it was about helping other kids where he lives.
“I like doing something that helps kids have a better holiday because not everyone has enough money but everyone deserves to have a good Christmas,” Tanner said.
Tanner and Calvin had originally planned to play guitar and sell their reindeer at the Sunday Brunch Farmer’s Market at the Pour House, but pouring rain prevented such efforts. Volkmann and her boys just walked into The Co-Op, one of their favorite Sunday outings anyway, and asked if they could play and try to sell the reindeer there.
The boys sold just three reindeer and made $45 on that Sunday, but donations coming in throughout the month yielded a generous $152.
Co-Op manager Alison Hart was all about the effort.
“It’s an awesome thing they’re doing, and we were really happy to help,” she said.