Students get free school shopping spree

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Back to school shopping can be exciting for kids but a stress for families looking to keep to a budget.

But thanks to a local non-profit, some deserving kids got a little help with supplies, and it was like Christmas -- six months early.

With some help from the Salvation Army, Target opened its doors Tuesday to 20 kids, giving them each $80 worth of back-to-school clothes.

Dalyce Pritchard, a soon-to-be sixth grader, was among the students. She and her chaperone, Aubrey Burkhart, were on a mission.

"We were looking mainly for some pants and some tops. She was really easy, and I’m glad I got a girl because it was good to help pick out," said Burkhart.

And they meant business: picking out clothes, trying them on and checking out is less than an hour.

It was a different sort of shopping experience than Dalyce was used to.

"When it's your family, your parents pick out different stuff for you," said Dalyce.

But when looking around with someone like Aubrey, “they let you pick out what you want. It's different because you pick out something that you like," Dalyce said.

This is the fourth year Target has teamed up with the Salvation Army for this effort.

"They give us the gift cards. We find volunteers to be chaperones, and away we go with these kids. I don't know who has more fun: The chaperones or the kids," said Claudia Jackson, the director of public relations for the Grand Junction Salvation Army.

But the event isn't just about having fun, as Dalyce's mom, Tina Daggett, knows.

"With five kids it can get really costly, so we spend up to $2000 on clothes, over $400 for school supplies," said Daggett.

That hits a family’s budget hard.

"The odds and ends: you have to skimp back. You have to get what's most important first, and then after that, we have to kind of sit back and decide if it's something we absolutely have to have," Daggett said.

So for her family, the Salvation Army offers some major backup.

"Their backpack program helped us with all of their school supplies, all of their backpacks, and now a huge portion of their school clothes," said Daggett.

But Target wasn’t the only one doing good deeds Tuesday.

A couple students actually went over their $80 limits, one picking out $200 worth of clothes.

Their chaperones paid for the rest of the bill.

This summer, the Salvation Army is handing out 850 backpacks filled with school supplies for students in need.

To help out the Grand Junction Salvation Army with its backpack program or other efforts, call 970-242-3343 or stop by the office at 1235 N. 4th Street.

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