Loreen Reynolds spent 22 hours straight in the midst of the Black Friday shopping madness.
Like other shoppers, she was hunting for the best deal. But friends and family members weren’t on her list. Reynolds shopped until she dropped on behalf of Attic Treasures, which helps fund Christmas gifts for needy children, infants to 18 years old, in Columbia County.
“It’s nice to know these kids are going to have a good Christmas,” said Reynolds, treasurer of the nonprofit, charitable thrift store in Harlem. “It’s nice to know there is no child going without a gift.”
With funds from the store and Harlem United Methodist Church’s pumpkin patch, Reynolds is dedicated to making Christmas exciting for 59 children, who are recommended through school counselors and other community sources.
Reynolds started her shopping marathon at Walmart on Bobby Jones Expressway at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving with shopping partner Kelley Hawkinberry.
Armed with a list filled with wants and needs from each child, a slew of store ads and a game plan, Reynolds aims for the best deals and sales to stretch the $8,000 to $9,000 she’ll spend.
“You have to be organized to do it,” Reynolds said, adding that she also enjoys the excitement of the bargain hunt.
Reynolds and Hawk-inberry started Black Friday shopping together when their children were small.
“We’ve been doing this forever,” Hawkinberry said.
Reynolds spends much of her Thanksgiving day focused on Christmas.
“After I put the turkey in (the oven), I started looking through the ads for about three hours,” said Reynolds, who left her Harlem home about 8 Thanksgiving night to get a jump on Black Fri-day sales.
Reynolds and Hawk-inberry, along with a few other helpers, took over two shopping carts and took on the crowds at Walmart.
They hoped to find each child two outfits, shoes, socks, underwear, at least one coat, toiletries, at least one big toy, and possibly other small toys and books.
The shopping loot included 16 bicycles, a kitchen set and a multitude of smaller toys, books and clothing.
Because Reynolds shops throughout the year, the goodies are stored in labeled bins inside her sister’s garage.
Reynolds said most of the families picked up the items, hidden in black garbage bags so as to not spoil the surprise, on Saturday.
The Christmas effort started five years ago with 20 children.
“It’s getting bigger and bigger every year,” Reynolds said.
The money raised also is used to provide a small gift card to the family for gas, laundry detergent, Christmas dinner, or whatever else they might need.
The considerable effort and battling the Black Friday crowds are worth it, Reynolds said, knowing the children will enjoy Christmas.
“(The families) are just very pleased,” Reynolds said. “They are very grateful we are doing it.”