The Salvation Army, Target team up to give kids shopping spree

By Tammy Keith Originally Published August 1, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated July 31, 2013 at 10:42 a.m.
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Nick Hillemann

Troy Wiseman Jr., 9, of Conway finishes shopping at Target with The Salvation Army Conway Corps volunteer Joey Federico, 25, of Conway. Troy bought clothes and the cap he’s wearing. Target in Conway participated in the nationwide back-to-school shopping event in a partnership with The Salvation Army. Selected students were given $80 gift cards to buy clothes or supplies.

CONWAY — Troy Wiseman Jr., 9, of Conway couldn’t wait to wear the new cap he bought at Target during the back-to-school shopping event with The Salvation Army, so he put it on in the checkout line.

He called it his “eye hat,” because of the design.

Nineteen Faulkner County students each received an $80 Target gift card Friday for a shopping spree in the fourth year of a nationwide partnership with The Salvation Army. A Conway School District bus transported the children and volunteers to Target in Conway.

“He let me get anything I want,” Troy said of his shopping chaperon, Joey Federico, 25, of Conway.

“Some things were on sale, and we didn’t know it,” Federico said, so the pair got to pick out something else.

Emily Brown, 15, and two of her three sisters, Alyson, 11, and Maggie Mae, 13, all of Conway, participated, too.

Emily said she likes to wear T-shirts and jeans, mostly, but she decided to buy a skirt, too, and an infinity scarf, along with a sweatshirt and a lace top.

She said she thought her mother would be happy with the girls’ purchases.

“Since she’s a single mom with four kids, it probably helped her a lot,” Emily said.

Maggie Mae showed her sisters a pair of sandals she bought, which Emily pointed out were her size, too.

Emily and Alyson realized they each almost bought the same sweatshirt, so Alyson picked out another design, and they plan to share.

Alyson said one of her favorite parts of the event was helping a younger student, Isabelle Hernandez, shop.

“It was fun helping Isabelle find her clothes. I helped her find some shorts — some pink ones,” Alyson said.

Isabelle couldn’t take her eyes off the Hello Kitty shirt she bought. She was with her two sisters and brother.

“I got leopard shorts,” Alyson’s sister Angel Hernandez, 9, said, holding them up as they sat together on the bus on the way home.

Angel pulled three belts out of her shopping bag.

“I like this one,” she said, pointing to a pink leopard-print belt.

Jaden Martin, 9, of Conway said shoes were his favorite purchase.

Joanna Britt, 13, of Holland said she had fun shopping, and her favorite purchase was a pair of All-Star athletic shoes.

She said she’s ready to go back to school.

“I like Greenbrier a lot — it’s fun,” she said of her school.

Joanna’s shopping buddy was Jennifer Blansett, 22, of Searcy, a student at the University of Central Arkansas and a summer intern for Target.

“I helped Joanna shop, and it was a great experience,” Blansett said. “She knew exactly what she wanted, and she knew what size she wore. We were 30 cents away from our goal,” she said, referring to the $80 gift card.

Some students bought backpacks and school supplies, too.

Capt. David Robinson, corps officer with The Salvation Army Conway Corps, said the back-to-school event was a first for him.

“I think it was awesome; it was the first time I was ever involved in anything like that. Just the spirit of everybody, and some of the volunteers — it was even their first time, but they just jumped in with both feet and went at it. I loved it,” he said.

Robinson said it was a rewarding experience to see shy children open up as the shopping trip went on.

“Target was great. They said, ‘If you need any more volunteers, we’ll find you some.’ The little snack bags — I thought it was great — a good thing all around,” Robinson said.

Target provided a goody bag for each participating child that contained snacks, a juice drink and a Dr. Seuss activity book.

A group photo was taken, and Target summer intern and UCA student Ashleigh Henard, 22, of Dyess, thanked the group for attending the event.

“I hope you have a very good school year,” she said.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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