Kids treated to back-to-school shopping spree

The sixth annual Great Start Program took place Thursday, just in time to get kids ready for school.

Kids from a few Michigan elementary schools had a reason to be excited about shopping all thanks to the McLoughlin Family Foundation and their event held at Target in Benton Harbor

"Like, I could bounce to the moon right now," said one student.

"We have 156 children from Cassopolis and Dowagiac schools grades one through four who have been invited to this shopping event,” said Cyndy Gunpert, Executive Assistant at the McLoughlin Family Foundation.

Students were picked by their teachers, and then invited by the foundation for a fun day of shopping.

"These kids are chosen on certain criteria which includes their achievement in school, their attitude, and their work ethic and all kinds of things like that," said Gunpert.

Each student is given $200 to buy anything they need for back to school supplies, including books, shoes and clothes.

Target opened an hour early so the kids and their parents could have the store to themselves, an extra hour employees were more than willing to work.

"There is a lot of people that want to volunteer for this event even though it is early,” said Chad Cutler, Target Store Team Leader. “So, we want to make sure we try to divide that up and get as many people here as possible to take care of the McLoughlin Foundation."

With the supply shopping done the great start event looks to give kids just that.

"We want to give these kids a great start to the new year,” said Gunpert. “That they are going to be coming into school in a really cute outfit they are going to have everything they need for school, they are going to be all ready to go."

"When children have all the tools needed, especially that new outfit, that new pair of shoes, you know is important,” said Cutler. “I think they go to school prepared and it transfers over into their day and hopefully throughout the year as well."

This was the largest group of children yet at the event, and the McLoughlin Family Foundation hopes it will continue to grow each year.

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