The youngsters, paired with adult shopping “buddies” roamed the aisles of Centerville’s Kohl’s Department Store early last Saturday morning, picking out items on their shopping list as part of this year’s Child Spree.
“It was very well received, and every school was represented,” said Davis Education Foundation executive director Brent Severe. The nonprofit foundation received more than $12,000, which was used to provide $100 for each child participating.
“A lot of the families, because of the economy, have fallen on hard times. Parents have lost jobs. They were extremely appreciative,” he said.
Money is targeted to go only for essentials, such as new underwear, socks and shoes.
“It’s surprising how many have never owned their own new pair of shoes. They were used to hand-me-downs from other brothers or sisters,” Severe said.
It’s a fun time for the shopping buddies as well as the kids, he said. “The buddies beg to come back the following year. We put out a call for volunteers, and they are chosen from throughout the county.”
Background checks are completed, as required by law, before anyone is approved, Severe emphasized.
“This was the first time we partnered with Kohl’s,” he said, noting store manager Tracy Temple was very interested in hosting the event there.
For many years, the 12-year-old event took place at the now-shuttered Mervyn’s store in Layton.
Because of the heavy early-morning rain, kids and their buddies huddled in the Kohl’s vestibule, where breakfast was served by McDonald’s of Centerville, owned by Allen Watson of Watson Management.
“Usually in excess of 200” children have participated in the yearly event, Severe said. However, due to the economy, funds are down.
“We really appreciate all of those who have donated,” he emphasized. Donations toward next year’s event may be made to the Davis Education Foundation, 45 E. State Street, Farmington, UT 84025.