The Target department store at South Hill Mall and the Puyallup Salvation Army made a difference in the lives of 26 school-age students last Wednesday during the Target Corporation’s annual School Sprees.
With an $81 gift card at their disposal, each of the students entered the store to purchase back-to-school clothing and supplies.
For Teresa Scott, a mother of four, the opportunity for three of her children to benefit was a blessing.
“It’s a big help,” Scott said. “This is the main part of the year that I need help financially. Every day is a challenge. I didn’t know it would be anything like this. I didn’t know we would go to an actual store.”
Jessilyn Tamonte, a 17-year-old who attends Spanaway Lake High School, was ecstatic.
“This is so cool,” Tamonte said. “It’s really nice to get this opportunity.”
Since 2009, Target Corporation has sponsored the School Spree program. Close to 500 Target stores nationwide participated between July 15 and Aug. 15. The corporation distributes $1 million to The Salvation Army nationwide to cover the $81 gift cards. By the end of 2015, Target aims to invest $1 billion for education, according to a company news release.
Maj. Premek Kramerius, who leads the Puyallup branch of the Salvation Army, said this is the second time in the past three years the organization has participated. In 2011, the Puyallup branch helped 25 students.
The selected students, predominately from the Puyallup and Bethel school districts, were identified by the Salvation Army as the highest need based on utilization of its family services programs, Kramerius said.
“This makes the biggest difference,” Kramerius said. “It puts a child on the starting line. They are fortunate to have a good start for this school year.”
As supplemental support, Kramerius said the Salvation Army also will provide school supplies to about 200 students in the Puyallup School District. They will be donated by the Fred Meyer School Supply Drive, he said.
“The drive is going currently and will finish by the end of this month,” he said.
Donation boxes are located at Fred Meyer locations on South Hill, downtown Puyallup and Sumner-Bonney Lake.Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew. Jesse Major is a freelance reporter for the Herald.