Reno Corps prepares children for school

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An NV Energy volunteer helps kids pick out hygiene products. Photo by Karen C. Ross

After 500 children received backpacks at the Reno (Nev.) Corps on July 22, the kids then “shopped” at the corps, collecting school supplies, hygiene products, T-shirts and other new clothing, a bag of school snacks, art supplies and gift certificates to a local shoe store and the Army’s Thrift Store.

This distribution was one of five that the corps scheduled throughout July and August to accommodate the public schools’ varied start dates.

To provide these back-to-school necessities, the newly chartered Reno-Sparks Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary sponsored a “Back to School Apple Barrel” project—based on the same premise as the Christmas Angel Tree program—allowing donors to “pick” an apple from the “tree” containing the needs of specific children.

With 50 apple barrels placed in stores, restaurants, gyms, beauty salons and other businesses, each auxiliary member assumed responsibility of at least one—“replanting” her tree with additional names, picking up donations and delivering them to the corps for sorting and distribution.

“The project these 45 Women’s Auxiliary members have undertaken is huge,” Reno Corps Officer Major Janene Zielinski said.

Large companies, such as NV Energy, contributed grant money for purchasing shoe store gift certificates, and the “Raley’s Food for Families” program supplied the school snacks.

The goal of the shopping sprees was to not only provide educational materials, but also promote a sense of responsibility as each child could choose his/her own backpack and supplies.

After shopping, each child received a bonus trip to the art room. “We only let the kids into the art room, and they get to pick out exactly what they want—without their parents’ input,” Zielinski said.

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