TEMPLE (July 30, 2013)--The Salvation Army treated 12 area kids to a back-to-school shopping spree Tuesday in Temple, giving each an $81 gift card provided by Target.
Since 2009, Target has sponsored Target School Sprees to help prepare children for the first day of school.
As part the Target School Spree program, Target has awarded The Salvation Army nationwide $1 million to cover Target gift cards and transportation costs.
Nearly 500 Target stores will participate in the Target School Spree event between July 15 and August 15 in select regions across the country.
Kids in first through 12th grade were led by two chaperones as they grabbed carts and wheeled down the aisles looking for school supplies and clothes.
Brenda Shafer, Corps Officer Salvation Army Temple, said the children chosen are from the Salvation Army Church.
"We saw about nine that were in need from our church," said Shafer.
The other three kids are currently staying at a hotel where their mother works.
"We are really blessed to be able to take the kids to do this and we know they feel that way as well," said Shafer.
"For them to go to school with new clothes and shoes is exciting for them."
Aubriana Flowers said she was excited to find a backpack with photos of teen heartthrobs "One Direction" on it.
Aubriana said she as excited about school and being able to shop, “because at least it’s me buying it and then my mom and dad won't have to use their money to buy stuff so we can have a lot more money to where we can save up and buy more important stuff."
Her dad, Quentin Flowers, was in the boys clothing section telling Aubriana's younger brothers what was appropriate to use the gift cards for as they excitedly showed him toys and other non-school items.
"I am here to spend a little time with my boys here and teach them a little value of a dollar today," he said.
"Honestly, I feel blessed today. It means a whole lot. Then we can save some of our money and then around the middle of the school year, we can update their school clothes or maybe end up helping somebody else who needs help also."
Starting in September, The Salvation Army in Temple will offer after school programs for kids from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. that include tutoring, crafts and dinner with the Salvation Army staff.