Back 2 School Shopping Sprees Bring Smiles to Bay Area Families in Need

Aug 27, 2018 | by The Salvation Army

Although it still feels like summer in the Bay Area, school is back in session. While this time of year can be exciting as kids reconnect with friends and dive back into a daily routine, for some families back-to-school time is especially challenging.

We want to give students the best chance at an incredible school year. To start them off on the right foot, this year we hosted two Back 2 School Shopping Sprees at Old Navy for families who are struggling to make ends meet.

100+ Families Gather to Shop for New School Clothes

Saturday, July 28 was a chilly morning, but that didn’t stop more than 130 children and their families from lining up outside of Oakridge Mall to check in for our Back 2 School Shopping Spree. As dozens of volunteers milled around inside prepping for the event, our Family Services team passed out waters and snacks to keep even our tiniest shopper’s ready for the day’s events.

Once the team had checked in all the students, we led groups of kids and teens to the front of Old Navy, where they were paired with a volunteer “shopper” who would help them select clothes throughout the store. Next, the pairs received their bag and shopping list and headed inside the store. Once they found all the needed, it was time to check out using a pre-paid card. Before students left, our officers gave some back-to-school encouragement and best wishes for a great school year. Everyone left with a free bag of new clothes and a big smile on their face.

How it Works

At our Back 2 School Shopping Sprees, school-age children are able to "shop" from a list of pre-approved Old Navy items, at no cost to them. Depending on what they need, kids and their shoppers can select uniform tops and bottoms, underwear, socks, hoodies, and in some cases, shoes. Students who aren’t required to wear a school uniform can select regular school clothes.

Since all families must sign up ahead of time, parents are able to provide sizing information to help the volunteer shoppers select clothes with the best fit. Parents qualified for the events based on low income. This year, we served about 300 students from around the Bay Area. In addition to our July 28 event, we also hosted a second shopping spree on August 4.

The Impact

After kids and teens selected their clothes, they were given the option to write thank you notes to the volunteers, donors, and Old Navy staff who made this event a possibility. Here’s what some of the notes said:

“Thank for my clothes! It really helped my mom and she's been struggling with money. ♡ Thank you!”

“Thank you to my volunteer. It was fun shopping with her.”

“Thank you for all these clothes. I feel so blessed.”

Help a Child in Need Succeed

There are many ways that you can help Bay Area students be successful this year. Make a donation to The Salvation Army Silicon Valley to help kids in need or view our current list of volunteer opportunities. Without you, we wouldn't be able to help thousands of families each year.

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