Orange County holds Mother’s Day shopping spree
By Kevin White –
Over 70 mothers, volunteers, and staff gathered just outside J.C. Penney at the Main Place Mall in Santa Ana, Calif., to participate in the The Salvation Army’s Orange County Women’s Auxiliary Annual Mother’s Day Shopping Spree.
Sponsored by the Auxiliary and hosted by J.C. Penney, 30 moms were selected from the county’s various social service programs, each arriving with their own story—single moms in recovery, moms that had been victims of human trafficking, and moms with families that have fallen on difficult times, struggling to make ends meet.
Madeline, for example, was homeless and a single mother of two when she met The Salvation Army. In and out of various shelters, she had lost hope and was battling to maintain her relationships and custody of her youngest child. She got involved in the Pathway of Hope program, was able to secure affordable housing, and is now working to get her life back on track.
The shopping spree was a landmark event for Madeline. “It was so much more than just shopping,” she said. “I’m saying good-bye to my past—it’s no longer me. New clothes are helping me with a new starting point in my life. I’m moving forward and thanking God.”
The shopping spree began with coffee and refreshments, followed by a complimentary Sephora “make-over” and the actual shopping experience. Each guest was paired with a volunteer and given a $100 gift card to go toward their shopping. With additional bonus coupons, special sales and discounts provided by J.C. Penney, the gift cards carried a much larger value.
“We are very grateful for the support of the Auxiliary, and to J.C. Penney and their staff, they were all incredible,” said Captain Stacy Cross, Orange County coordinator. “J.C. Penney provided us with significant discounts and coupons that allowed our moms to purchase more than we had originally planned. It’s much more than shopping. It’s wonderful to see our volunteers really get to know and interact with our clients through this event.”
Lynnette Palmquist, the event volunteer coordinator, said “The Salvation Army Mother’s Day Shopping is such an amazing experience. Every year I hear heart-wrenching stories that end with women embracing and sharing happy tears. Bringing women together like this makes everyone feel valued and loved. God has abundantly blessed us this day.”
Madeline shared her appreciation to her volunteer shopping partner. “Thank you for providing very much needed apparel,” she said. “I’m in a new season of my life. I’m starting to feel better [about myself]… I believe and thank God for using you to meet a need for me. This will be a very nice Mother’s Day this year. God bless all of you.”