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Ironton Key Club buys gifts for community children

Sarah Runyon and Brittany Yates sat with their heads together, looking around the room at small faces delightedly noshing slices of pizza.

“I think that one is mine,” Sarah said, nodding at one child. “I can’t wait to see what her reaction is.”

Runyon, Yates and 22 other Ironton High School Key Club members played Santa Claus again this year, buying toys and other Christmas gifts for 42 disadvantaged children. The club threw a pizza party Wednesday and showered the younger kids with gifts and attention.

For the Key Club members, it was an opportunity to do something nice for a youngster at Christmastime — and shop.

“I spent, like, an hour in Wal-Mart looking for everything,” Yates mused.

“I really enjoyed it,” fellow member Dova Christian said. “I look forward to this every year.”

Given a name, age and certain preferences, she chose a talking Spongebob for the little girl she chose, a teddy bear that lights up and an outfit “that is entirely pink,” Christian said.

After the pizza, kids got a visit from Santa, who, with the help of club members, passed out the gifts.

For 10-year-old Marissa Arthur and her sister, Brianna Arthur, 5, Wednesday’s party was an afternoon of dreams-can-come-true.

“Mommy look,” Marissa exclaimed as she pulled a Ballerina Barbie out of wrapping paper. She realized immediate what went with the Barbie when she unwrapped a second gift.

“Barbie house, Barbie house Barbie house!” she exclaimed.

Their mom, Mary Jo Arthur, watched as her kids played with their new toys. “I’m thankful and very much appreciative,” she said.

The Christmas party has been a tradition with the Key Club. Why?

“It feels good t do it,” club member Stephen Howard explained. He bought a remote-controlled car for the little boy whose name he got. “I can’t wait to see his face and play with him. That is my reward.”