Salvation Army Helps Kids Shop For Their Family

Posted at: 12/05/2012 9:07 PM
Updated at: 12/05/2012 10:45 PM
By: Dietrich Nissen

(ABC 6 News) -- Just a few hours ago, Rochester's Salvation Army paired up volunteers with 160 kids to do some shopping at Shopko. But they didn't shop for themselves, they shopped for others.

Each year the Salvation Army gives kids a chance to buy gifts for their family.

"They get all excited, oh, I get to shop for my mom, or my dad, or my brother, or my sister," says Major James Frye. It starts at the group's main building downtown. Kids register before being paired with an adult.

"It teaches them two things. One of it is responsibility. It teaches about shopping, understanding how much they can spend, and about getting gifts and giving gifts," says Frye.

Then it's off to the store, where kids are allowed to spend eight dollars per family member. They shared with us their shopping list.

"For my brother, I'm looking for tech decks and for my sister I'm looking for like games and dolls," says Madison.

"A Mario figure, um, and some girl stuff for my sister," says Hadden.

"My brother, some headphones. We got a cup for my mom, and some headphones for my sister," says Brandon.

Along the way, the kids may even gain a friend.

"So, who’s your favorite football team?” asked Jonathan Del Vecchio.

“Green bay,” responded Hadden. “I'm telling you, the Vikings suck. "

Or maybe not. Either way, volunteers say it's fun helping these kids shop and learn how to spend.

"She's a cute girl!" says Marissa Duratovic.

"Quite frankly it pays off,” says Vecchio. “Every single year, and it's fun to connect with kids…especially this talkative football player, right?"

Once they’ve collect what they're looking for it's time to check out, and board the bus back downtown so they can wrap their gifts for those they love.

If you'd like to be a volunteer next year, the Salvation Army is always looking.

Call them at (507) 288-3663 for more information.