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Kids shop at 'Small Mall'

The Small Mall held December 3 and 4 gave youngsters in Alexandria the opportunity to "purchase" gifts for their families while also helping to purchase gifts for children in Haiti. This little boy holds several wrapped gifts that he picked out for his family. (Contributed photo)

A total of 163 children were able to purchase Christmas gifts for their loved ones this year, thanks to the Small Mall held at the 6th Avenue Community Center in Alexandria on December 3 and 4.

The Small Mall project was developed in 2010 by Evansville pastor Mick Murphy and Evansville youth pastor Sara Evanson. It was designed to teach children the importance of giving to others.

Here's how it works:

Gifts are donated by community members and businesses. Parents of children ages 3 through 6th grade are encouraged to have their children earn $1 by doing chores.

They then brought their children and the money they earned, along with a list of people they wanted to give gifts to, to the Small Mall, where the parents could relax with a cup of coffee or cider while volunteers took the children "shopping" in the gift room.

The first gift purchased cost 25 cents, the second gift was 10 cents and all other gifts were 5 cents, so most children were able to purchase gifts for everyone on their list and still receive change back. A total of 894 gifts were chosen during the two day event.

With the help of volunteers, they wrapped the gifts and took them home to give out at Christmas.

All money raised through the event is used to purchase gifts for children in Haiti.