Every year, some of the area’s most needy children are treated to a shopping day ahead of the new school year.
This year’s Clothes for Kids event, put on by the Sutter-Yuba Association of Realtors Charitable Foundation, was on Sunday and saw 300 students from Colusa, Sutter and Yuba counties walk through Kohl’s in Yuba City and pick out any items they needed for the year ahead.
“We do fundraisers throughout the year, including our big golf tournament in June, which raises most of the money we need for this event. We get student referrals from the schools themselves,” said Deneen Torres, co-chairperson of the annual event. “Each student gets a shopping day just before school gets started back up.”
Participating students are taken around the department store with a volunteer shopping buddy and can choose any piece of clothing off the racks they like. Smaller children are given an allowance of $130 while bigger kids get up to $160. Each student also walks away with a new backpack filled with school supplies.
Sutter County Supervisor Mike Ziegenmeyer has been volunteering as a shopping buddy at the event for the past few years.
“It’s one of my favorite things to do all year. I think the Sutter-Yuba Association of Realtors are amazing, and our local Active 20-30 Club is amazing, and so is the Kiwanis Club. The event always runs smoothly. Every year there seems to be more and more volunteers, too, so that is great,” he said. “…My favorite part is seeing their eyes light up. The children are so grateful, it’s just neat how everyone is really positive.”
Event organizers blocked off a portion of the store’s parking lot during the event so that a few local hairstylists and barbers could set up temporary shop and give some of the students a fresh cut. The Marysville Kiwanis Club made breakfast for the students and their families as well.
Torres said another 50 students or so were unable to make it to Sunday’s event but will have an opportunity to go on a shopping spree this Wednesday evening.
“It used to only be about 50-75 kids that participated. Since I’ve been on board, we’ve been increasing that amount every year,” Torres said, who has helped organize the event for a decade.
She said the best part is seeing the amazement on the children’s faces when they pick out something new.
“Some of these kids have never been in a big department store. We’ve had kids walk in and are amazed because they’ve never been in a store like that. Some kids come in with holes in their shoes or in shoes that are a size too small and are so excited to get a new pair,” Torres said. “My favorite part is just seeing the kids so happy.”
For more information about future events or ways to help, contact the Sutter-Yuba Association of Realtors office at 674-4222.