Memphis Kids Making Reindeer For Holiday Spending Money

Memphis Kids Making Reindeer For Holiday Spending Money

It's all part of a very special holiday project making Christmas possible for dozens of Memphis kids.
MEMPHIS, TN -- It's a piece of the North Pole right here in Memphis. A mini-Santa's workshop, if you will, set up in the back of a local florist.

The elves? Inner city children hard at work on one-of-a-kind creations.

It's all part of a very special holiday project making Christmas possible for dozens of Memphis kids.

Rachel's Kids, Inc is a non-profit that reaches out to children living in the Binghampton neighborhood near Midtown. This holiday season, the kids aren't hard to find.

"That's the magic of Christmas, we're all doing it together," says Rachel Greer, owner of Rachel's Flowers. The back room of the flower shop is reindeer central.

"They're just making them as hard and fast as they can," Greer tells Seven days a week, kids are sawing, gluing, whittling and decorating handmade reindeer.

"Close to 100, 150 children," says Greer.

They're building big reindeer and little ones; plain ones and reindeer decked out in ribbons and jewels. "Every reindeer has a different personality. Every child has a different personality," she says.

The reindeer are a relatively new project for Greer and her kids, but it's already touched the lives of those making them.

"We've already seen what it can do. It's turned utilities on in a house. It's bought a tv for a family that had a small tv set and they pooled their money together and got a tv at Kmart the other night."

The kids and parents who build the reindeer get to keep every cent when they sell.

"Believe it or not, it does help pay the bills," says mom Sharon Hughes. "And it helps buy food and the kids get extra things for Christmas." Kids who would never have any extra money if not for making reindeer.

"Since I came to Ms. Rachel she's been making me feel like I'm really at home, helping me, and I only met her yesterday," says 12 year old Achol Nebk. "She made me feel like I'm her child."

The project lets them have fun and enjoy the holidays.

"People ask 'Well are they saving any money?' And I say 'Get serious! They're kids...eight, 10, 12, 14 years old." Greer laughs.

Kids, who for a few weeks in December, are little entrepreneurs with big plans for what they earn.

"Shoes and clothes for the winter," says 14 year old Curnesha Williams. "And my momma a present for Christmas and my daddy."

"First when I get my money then I'll go buy my sister and my brother some Christmas gifts," says Nebk. "I want to make it a surprise, telling them I care for them and I love them."

You can buy the reindeer at Rachel's Flowers at 2486 Poplar near Hollywood.

They range in price from $8-$25. Greer says several kids are saving up for bicycles, so they're hoping to sell many more reindeer before the holidays are over.

They'll keep making them as long as people are buying.
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