Ten students from Waukegan Unit District 60 went shopping Tuesday for back-to-school supplies through Target's School Sprees program aimed at helping needy children get ready for the classroom.
The youths met at the Waukegan Target at 9:30 a.m. with Salvation Army chaperones to buy backpacks, shoes and calculators. Adan Carlin, 9, Jessica Carlin, 11, Jazmin Farias, 9, Jovanny Farias, 11, Rachel Moore, 14, Amanda Rinehart, 8, Dhamee Sinclair, 12, Darlene Bahena-Torres, 7, Roger Bahena-Torres, 6, and Maribel Zavala, 15, were each given an $81 gift card to spend.
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"It's amazing how much $81 adds up, and it's amazing how much stuff they have to take to school these days," Waukegan Salvation Army Maj. Heather Holman said. "I think if even they were given a $200 gift card, they would probably just get everything they need,"
Salvation Army officials choose the students based on financial need and prior knowledge of their economic situation, Holman said.
"One of the little girls really wanted to be able to get a soft-sided lunch box, but she knew that wasn't one of the most important things to get," she said. "When she had enough money to get it, the smile on her face was just precious. Her eyes just got huge."
This is the fourth year Target and Waukegan's Salvation Army have worked together to provide kids with the gift cards, Holman said.
Target and the Salvation Army have worked since 2009 on the School Sprees program, which has about 500 participating stores in the U.S.