“We have about 30 kids, two chaperones and they each get an $81 gift card from Target. They’re shopping for school supplies, but also clothes, shoes, anything of that nature,” Manager Chris Hilliard said. “We help them if they need anything and we usually open up two checkout lanes just for them, then we send them over to Food Avenue and let them get a popcorn and a soda before they go.”
Lt. Michelle Wilson of The Salvation Army explained the event is a partnership between Target’s corporate office and The Salvation Army dating back to 2009. Wednesday’s event was the second time for the Cartersville store to participate.
“We [selected students] through our internal social services; The Salvation Army provides year-round assistance to individuals in the community whether they come in for our food pantry or they come in because they need help paying a past due or disconnected utility bill and we selected families ... who have had a need in the past few months and have school-age children,” Wilson said.
Students in need also are made aware of services available from The Salvation Army through advertising via the BackPack Buddies program and Bartow Give a Kid a Chance.
“Back-to-school time is a very expensive time, especially if you have several kids in your household that you’re trying to gather up the $60 or $80 worth of school supplies that they need ... to start back to school on the right foot,” Wilson said. “There is a great need here in our community and all the families we’re assisting through this are low-income families and many of them are living on a fixed income with little to no resources available to get the school supplies they need.”
She added, “This is an opportunity to team up with Target and to be able to help out these kids ... and hopefully help them start out the new year with confidence.”
The students who participated were in grades K-12.
According to a press release, “Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children.”
The release further states that since 1946, the Minneapolis-based Target Corporation has given 5 percent of its profit through community grants and programs, equaling more than $4 million a week.
Marissa Manis, a middle school student, said she is looking forward to starting back to school and enjoyed the shopping excursion.
“We’ve been picking out school supplies and book bags,” Manis said, adding her favorite subject is science.
While technology such as laptop computers and desktop computers are becoming the new norm in schools, Manis said she was excited to get a new book bag to carry her new school supplies.