August 17, 2010 > Salvation Army teams with Target for needy kids
Salvation Army teams with Target for needy kids
Submitted By Eileen McDonald, President of Alameda County Board of Education
Photos By Eileen McDonald
The smiles on the faces of the children said it all as volunteers were paired with children ranging from 5-12 years old, in need of school clothing. The annual event, sponsored by the Tri-City Salvation Army, was held August 10 at Target - New Park Mall. The 7:45a.m. start time brought out four members of the Newark Optimist Club--Larry Jett, Sylvia Simon, Newark Schools Trustee Jan Crocker, and I. Needing more "personal shoppers," I went to the phones. An immediate "yes" came from Linda Mapes, Carol Emmett, Suzanne Miller, Lydia King, Louise Brower, and Shirley Barlington.
Shoppers were given an $80 gift card and a list of items with sizes that the child needed. Most of the kids made the shoe racks their first stop. My little guy, Alejandro, preparing to attend first grade at Milani School in Newark, knew exactly what he wanted. "Black ones with no laces," he shyly told me in a voice almost too quiet for my old ears to hear. We found some slip-on Vans for the incredible price of $14, leaving plenty of money to purchase other necessities.
In the same shoe aisle was Linda Mapes, who patiently smiled as six-year-old Fernando tried on pair after pair. Within minutes we were joined by Sylvia Simon and Jan Crocker who were, like me, on a fun-filled scavenger hunt for deals.
A few aisles over was Suzanne Miller, a retired teacher from Newark's Schilling School, back for her second year. "I brought my reading glasses this time to better read the prices," she quipped while assisting 10-year-old Daniel, who attends Tom Kitayama Elementary School in Union City.
We were all pleased and surprised how far that $80 went. Lydia King made several trips to the cash register only to return to the racks with money still left on the gift card. It was reminiscent of the story of the loaves of bread from biblical times--the money kept stretching.
Some of the children knew exactly what they wanted while others accepted our motherly/fatherly suggestions. Larry Jett was successful at steering his young man from the metallic tee-shirts to the more classic collared, striped polo shirt.
Newark's Carol Emmett provided us with an early morning smile as she waited in line at the return desk with her twelve-year-old student, Jacqueline. "Already?" a chorus of her friends teased. She quickly commented, "I told her instead of buying two $14 bras she could get other clothing if she bought the ones on sale for $7.99." I laughed silently hoping Carol would come again next year.