Picture 1573Preparing children for a new school year is stressful for most parents, even in the best of economic times. But for parents who have lost their jobs or are trying to make ends meet on shrinking incomes, this time of year is especially stressful. The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division understands the plight of cash-strapped households and partnered with Target and Cardinal Fitness to assist parents to get their children ready for school.The Army organized a shopping spree for 200 kindergarteners through sixth-graders with a $25,000 grant from Target. Accompanied by chaperones – one per child – children shopped to their heart’s content, filling their carts with school supplies and clothes. Children worked from lists developed by their parents, carefully crossing off each item as they placed it into the shopping cart.Each child had a $100 Target GiftCard with which to pay for his/her purchases. Chaperones helped children with their shopping decisions and kept track of how much money was being spent and on what. When the children finished shopping, Target employees treated them to refreshments and snacks.Cardinal Fitness also assisted with providing school supplies to needy children by holding its first annual school supply drive to benefit The Salvation Army.Cardinal Fitness members at 42 Illinois clubs and 3 clubs in Indiana donated boxes of school supplies, which were distributed to children served by 21 Salvation Army Corps community centers in the two states.View Photo Gallery

How to Help a Young Child Get Ready for School

schoolKidsStarting a new school year can be stressful for children of all ages, but especially for the very young. There are things parents can do, however, to help ease a child’s transition from a carefree summer to a structured school-day, including:

  • Implementing a school-year sleeping schedule before the school starts, so that the child gets used to going to bed earlier than during the summer and getting up at a designated time
  • Building excitement about the new school year by talking with the child about the new things he/she will learn in school and about the new children she/he will meet.
  • Talking with the child about any concerns he/she might have about going to school.
  • Visiting the school to introduce the child to his/her new classroom and teacher.
  • Reassuring the child that if he/she needs you while in school, you will be there.

The Salvation Army Takes 200 Children Shopping for Back-To-School Supplies, Clothes

schoolBooksIt will be a happy end to the summer for 200 grade school children (K-sixth grade) when they go shopping for back-to-school clothes and supplies—courtesy of The Salvation Army and Target Inc.As part of the back-to-school program, Target awarded The Salvation Army in ten markets across the U.S. with a $25,000 grant, which included $20,000 worth of Target GiftCards for the shopping sprees, and an additional $5,000 to cover transportation and other administration expenses. More than 80 Target stores will participate in the one-day event in select markets including Minneapolis/St. Paul, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Dallas, Miami, New York, Baltimore/Washington, D.C. and Seattle.The day of the shopping trip, each child will be presented with a $100 Target GiftCard to use at seven participating Target stores in the Greater Chicago area and a Target store in Munster, Indiana.Children will be paired with chaperones who will help them with their purchasing decisions and monitor how much is being spent and on what by each child. Stores will treat children to snacks and, for those children who finish their shopping early, there’ll be games for them to play.