Rapid City families treated to shopping sprees to get kids back-to-school ready
RAPID CITY, S.D. – Thanks to Love INC., several families in the Rapid City area got some much needed help with their children’s back-to-school shopping early Saturday morning.
Every year, Love INC. teams up with local churches and organizations in the community for their annual Clothe-A-Kid event, which gives qualifying families up to $100 for each child to buy new clothes for the upcoming school season. In order to have qualified, parents must have enrolled in classes through Life INC. or participated in community service projects through Fountain Springs Church. Life INC. classes focus on a variety of topics such as finances, nutrition, faith and many more.
Children also qualified for being enrolled in Vacation Bible School.
This year, 33 families registered for the event. With a volunteer to help them out, parents helped their kids pick out the perfect outfits.
“We have 96 children. So out of that, we will be clothing 96 children,” Clothe-A-Kid Coordinator Lori Rohde said. “We thankfully have wonderful local churches here that support our program. we just put an announcement out at the beginning of summer that it is time for Clothe-A-Kid to roll around, and people are just so generous and give.”
Despite the turnout for the event, Rohde says this year marks the lowest number of family participation. In her nearly 20 years of involvement with the program, she remembers the years 2005 to 2007 as being the busiest she has ever seen. During those years, she says they helped thousands of kids find new clothes for school.
However, when Rohde started, they used to house the event at The Monument, and families would search through the clothes they had on-location. Volunteers purchased the clothes, but families were having a hard time finding clothes that fit their kids. Over the years, Clothe-A-Kid has evolved into a shopping spree event based on the organization and requests from residents involved. In fact, the decision to hold it at Wal-Mart was made by participating families.
Of course, the burden that it lifts off of families does not go unseen. One of the mothers at the event was so grateful for the opportunity to take her kids shopping. Having only been able to purchase one outfit for each of her children in years past, she says this gets everyone in her family excited for the upcoming season.
“They just get the joy of getting to go shopping for school clothes and they get excited about it,” she said. “So, it just means a lot to me.”
Love INC. has also hosted a similar event in winter to help families purchase warm clothes, but are still deciding on whether the event will happen this year.