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Kids treated to shopping spree

July 21, 2008|By Alison Tully


Eight-year-old Dakota Jones was one of 23 kids who got to shop till they dropped Saturday at the 16th annual Mervyns Back to School ChildSpree.

“Have you seen my Incredible Hulk shirt?” Dakota said as he reached into the depths of his blue Mervyns shopping bag. “I’ve gotten so many cool clothes for school.”


The event, co-sponsored by the Burbank Jaycees, gives underprivileged kids a $100 gift card to shop for new dresses, shirts, shoes and other school clothes.

The Boys and Girls Club of Burbank and the Burbank Temporary Aid Center chose the 23 participants. Each child was accompanied by an adult chaperon at the Glendale store.

“I am always excited to come to this event,” volunteer chaperon Barbara Earhart said as she helped Dakota pick out a striped polo shirt. “It is my second year. It’s really neat for kids like Dakota, who really need the help.”

While Dakota chose a sweat shirt emblazoned with the grim reaper, Abbey Ibarra picked out heart-studded graphic T-shirts and polka-dot-patterned Vans shoes.

“It’s great to pick out all these clothes,” said Abbey, a fifth-grader at Bret Harte Elementary School. “I have been looking forward to this for a while.”

The Burbank Jaycees organized the event to allow kids from lower-income backgrounds to buy some new clothes for the school year, said Tina Schrader, vice president of marketing for the group.

“Some kids get to school and they have very stylish clothes, while others have to wear the same thing over and over,” she said. “So the event gives kids a chance to fit in and feel more comfortable going back to school in the fall . . .it is so gratifying for us to see their excitement.”

Meryvns employees filled new backpacks for the participants with school supplies such as notebooks and pencils. Staff members also placed a different reading book in each bag based on the child’s interests, said Stephanie Garcia, assistant manager of the store.

“It is so neat to see the kids move throughout the store, and they all have such a great attitude,” she said. “I also love to see the different things they picked out.”

Chaperon Cathy Jin watched as Luther Middle School student Annika, 10, picked out school pants and printed blouses.

“It’s so fun to volunteer and help Annika shop,” Jin said. “Of course now I want to shop for myself. It’s a great opportunity for these kids and fun for everyone involved.”

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