For Josaphine Alvarez, it was a last-minute shopping trip to make sure she's ready for school. "Glue sticks, white paper, folders, back packs, regular stuff," she said listing some of the items she got just the day before school starts. For her big sister Atiyana, it was the last day of what she said was a long summer. "Yes," she said, asked if she was looking forward to school starting already. "It was boring," she said of summer.
For their dad Joseph, the shopping spree courtesy of The Salvation Army and Target was some welcomed relief to what might have been a tough beginning of the school year. "Well, I need the help this year. She said come over and she helped me out, sent me to a couple places and said they have vouchers and stuff, and I'm like why not, the more help the merrier. Single father, so," he said.
Each year, Target donates $1 million which is divided up among The Salvation Army's 40 national districts. The Salvation Army has had this program for four years, but they've been seeing an increased need and thanks to a generous donation from an anonymous donor, they were actually able to serve 10 more students this year than last year.
"Our goal is to help as many as we can and they get $80 each, and they come and they go shopping and they get all the school supplies they can with that $80," Salvation Army Lt. Sean O'Brien explained.
Back-to-school clothes are also allowed, and to help parents like Joseph who are not big fans of shopping in the first place, every family is assigned a Salvation Army volunteer to help. "I got a young girl as a guide and she's going to be a big help, especially with girls," he said.