Dress A Child celebrates 36 years in Denver

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The Salvation Army partners with Sears to send kids back to school.

by Roger Miller –

Five members from United Natural Foods, Inc., of Denver helped chldren shop. [Photo by Roger Miller]

Two Sears stores in metro Denver (Colo.)—in partnership with The Salvation Army—welcomed 220 children and 200 volunteers to their sites on Aug. 14, 2010, for back-to-school shopping sprees. This was the 25th year the program has been running, thanks to the efforts of The Salvation Army Denver Women’s Auxiliary.

After wearing hand-me-downs and clothing from the second-hand clothes stores for years, many of the children were excited to get new clothes and shoes for the first time.

Arriving at the stores at 7 a.m., the kids were paired with adult chaperones that not only watched over them, but also helped them pick out appropriate clothes and shoes. While some needed school uniforms, others did not and enjoyed shopping for shirts, pants, coats, socks and dresses.

Every shopper had a $120 allowance. Sears provided volunteer cashiers who also acted as guides to direct children to specific items. Along with the stipend, the stores also offered greatly discounted sale items for the event.

The Salvation Army’s Women’s Auxiliary funded most of the morning’s activities from two fundraisers held every year: a “Holiday Festival”—featuring handmade crafts the members work on all year and homemade food items—and a “Doll Tea,” both held every November.

“It is such a treat to see the faces of the kids as they roam about the stores, looking at all the clothes they can buy,” Metro Denver City Coordinator Captain Ron McKinney said. “It is truly a blessing by the Women’s Auxiliary for these children. It really warms the heart.”

By 9:15 a.m., volunteers, kids, Salvation Army staff and Women’s Auxiliary members were ready to call it a day. After paying for their purchases at the registers, the “buyers” received breakfast and a backpack filled with school supplies.

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