Wednesday, August 24, 2011
As the end of summer draws near, families everywhere are scavenging the store aisles to grab the school supply items requested by that oh-so-specific new teacher. But amidst the hustle and bustle of nabbing deals and buying new clothes is an often overlooked reality: many kids are without these basic back-to-school necessities.
That’s where The Salvation Army comes in. Thanks to an awesome national effort of volunteers, partnerships, and local businesses, thousands of kids across the country are returning to school with new clothes, supplies, and confidence- the right ingredients needed for success in the classroom.
The Target School Spree events provided nearly 12,000 children with a gift card worth $80 to purchase items needed for school. Those selected by the Salvation Army to receive the gift card also received one-on-one shopping assistance to ensure all of their needs were met. Nearly 500 Target stores participated in the one-day Target School Spree event.
In Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, Project Backpack led to the children singing in appreciation as they received backpacks and supplies provided by Huntington Bank. Almost 500 backpacks were distributed! This included participants from the Summer Enrichment program at the six community centers throughout the city. “It’s so wonderful to be part of this event,” stated Major Faith Miller, Divisional Program Secretary. “We’re so grateful to the companies and those in the community who make these programs possible.”
Across the country Salvation Army locations teamed up with local businesses to “Stuff the Bus”. Krispy Kremes in North and South Carolina offered a delicious donut incentive to folks who donated supplies.
Florida Salvation Army locations “Stuffed the Bus” by partnering with Publix Supermarkets, United Way, First Coast News, and Community First Credit Union. In Jacksonville alone they helped 2,000 needy children!
The Salvation Army of Orlando partnered with Publix Supermarkets for the“School Tools for Cool Kids” supply drive. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer even stopped by on the first day to pass out nearly 700 bags of school supplies to the area families!
The Salvation Army of El Paso, Texas collected enough donations to help more than 420 children in the area, including children at the Child Crisis Center and those residing at the Salvation Army emergency family shelter.
The San Antonio Salvation Army provided 2,000 pairs of shoes to about 1,000 families in need. Within three shifts,250 volunteers fit shoes on the feet of these children- that’s gotta’ be a record!
The Salvation Army of Amarillo, Texas partnered with Wal-Mart to provide brand new shoes and socks for thousands of children. More than 800 students visited the store to pick out the shoes they wanted!These are just a few examples of the back-to-school events that have been going on across the country since late July. Children are enjoying their last few days of freedom rather than spending their final days of summer vacation wondering if they’ll have these necessities. Because of generous donors and faithful volunteers, education is made a priority, families in need can afford other necessities for a healthy lifestyle, and kids are left to focus on their studies without the distractions of “not having”.
Many thanks to everyone who helped make this possible!
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
It may be the middle of summer, but more than 12,000 students today are actually excited to start school again in the fall!
That’s because Target stores across the country treated them to an amazing Back-to-School-Spree with the help of The Salvation Army this morning. The kids were each given an $80 Target Gift Card to choose their favorite school supplies, clothes, and other necessities for the upcoming academic year.
For some children, this is the first time they’ve ever had brand new school materials. For many, they have a new confidence knowing they don’t have to worry about being picked on or falling behind due to a lack of supplies. For all, the shopping event was a lot of fun!
We want to wish a huge THANKS to our partner Target for their $1 million donation that is supporting the education and development of thousands of Salvation Army youth program participants. Also, to our many volunteer chaperones who helped today, you rock!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
More than 12,000 students in need across the country did their school supplies shopping today as a part of Target and The Salvation Army’s Back-to-School Spree!
Each participating child, selected by The Salvation Army, was awarded an $80 Target GiftCard to purchase much-needed back-to-school supplies, and they were paired with a volunteer chaperone to help them pick out their new items. Target has awarded all 40 of The Salvation Army divisions nationwide a total of $960,000 worth of Target GiftCards, an incredible donation that without which this event would not be possible.
We here at The Salvation Army National Headquarters had the great pleasure of attending the Back-to-School Spree that took place at the Target in Falls Church, VA this morning. It was a GREAT time!
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For more pictures from today’s Back-to-School Spree, visit The Salvation Army’s National Flickr page HERE.
The aisles of fresh notebooks, colorful markers, and shiny backpacks generated pure excitement in the faces of the kids as they perused the shelves with their Salvation Army volunteer chaperones. 30 local area children ranging from grade levels K-12 participated at this location. For many of them it was the first time they’ve ever bought brand new school supplies, but this year they’ll be able to start the upcoming academic year prepared and confident.
With a full shopping cart, 5th grader Quentin confirmed his readiness, especially for his favorite class math. He made sure to purchase a ruler, pencils, and plenty of erasers. “It was good. I feel grateful. I don’t have to go back and get more because I got all of it,” he told me.
7th grader Ty-anna’s grin gave away her excitement. Armed with new supplies Ty-anna said, “I won’t be behind at school. This has helped me a lot. It makes me really happy.”
A smiley 3rd grader named We’am recognized that while she had fun shopping, she knew it was also helping out her mom who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford new school supplies for We’am and her siblings.
Salvation Army Officer Captain Vance Murphy said, “It was neat watching the kids’ faces light up and listen to them talk about what they were going to buy. I don’t know who gets more out of this – the kids or volunteers.”
Major Steve Morris from The Salvation Army’s National Area Command believes the benefits are shared evenly. “I think every volunteer here has said they’ve made a new friend. It’s more than just, ‘let’s go do this job.’ There’s a relationship built. That’s the Army’s touch. It’s equally beneficial.”
His idea seemed to be proven by a particular Salvation Army volunteer and 8th grade shopper who both share the name Toni. As they checked out with the Target cashier, it was hard to tell who was more excited about the day’s shopping. 8th grader Toni said she couldn’t believe the generosity shown by Target and The Salvation Army, and especially her volunteer chaperone whom she had just met less than a few hours earlier. “I’m so happy! I’m so thankful!” she bubbled. Her chaperone added, “I’m in ecstasy with her joy. Her expression was worth every moment!” The two gave each other an emotional hug before heading outside with their bags.
Thanks to Target’s generous partnership, today’s Back-to-School Spree was a huge success. Thousands of needy kids across the country are now prepared and excited to start their school year, while volunteers left equally inspired. Thank you to everyone who participated today, especially Target, who has shown a strong commitment to supporting children and education.
For more pictures from today’s Back-to-School Spree, visit The Salvation Army’s Flickr page here.
P.S. We heard that at a Back-to-School Spree in Altoona, Pennsylvania some lucky kids got to shop with some local heroes! Players from the Altoona Curve, the area’s minor league baseball team, came out to volunteer as chaperones. See photos of pitcher Justin Wilson and pitcher Dustin Mollekin on our Flickr site here.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
USA Today‘s story, “Homeless People Learn to Feed Others as Chefs,” talks about Cecil Morris, Jr., a once homeless, drug- and alcohol-addict who spent a year in The…