Equipped for success in Seattle

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Seattle White Center holds back-to-school shopping spree at JCPenney.

By Lora Marini Baker –

Eighty Seattle schoolchildren headed back to school equipped for success after attending a shopping spree at JCPenney, organized by The Salvation Army Seattle White Center.

Thanks to a generous donation from Darrell S. and Crystal Davis, each child had $200 to spend on back-to-school items, including clothing, shoes and backpacks. Major Raymond Erickson-King and Captain Jennifer Erickson-King, White Center corps officers, organized the event.

“For some of these students, it’s their first experience shopping for their own clothes,” Raymond Erickson-King said. “It gives the kids a feeling of confidence when they have their own new clothing, and that confidence can help lead to success in classroom.”

Most of the kids shopping will also participate in free Salvation Army programs at the White Center Corps throughout the upcoming school year, including after-school tutoring, athletic leagues, and evening/weekend meals.

JCPenney helped the young shoppers stretch their dollars further by discounting all purchases by 25 percent.

A team of volunteers—Boeing Machinists Union members, Bluebills (Boeing retirees and spouses), The Salvation Army Advisory Council, and Salvation Army staff members—acted as chaperones, giving each child one-on-one shopping help.

Although the Davises no longer live in the Northwest, they continue to support The Salvation Army White Center.

“The Lord has blessed me with the financial resources and the heart to follow the words of Jesus himself when he said ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive,’” Darrell Davis said. “The smiles and happiness of all the kids from White Center is a reward beyond value.”

Although the couple could not attend the shopping event in person this year, they received a souvenir DVD containing video and photos of the kids shopping. Each child also signed a giant thank-you note at the end of the event.

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