Greater Wilmington – Shopping Night pilot filled with smiles and stories

More than 25 Assistance League members and 29 students, their parents and the school social workers from Williston Middle School gathered at Target on April 5, to enjoy an evening of shopping.

Assistance League allotted each child $100 to spend on school clothing and supplies. Target chipped in another $5.

Each student was assigned an Assistance League member to shop with them. The big search then began as they wandered through the store in search of great bargains and the perfect outfits and supplies for school.

The two Williston social workers, David Pena and Stephanie Thomas, who organized the event on Williston’s side, were very helpful in making the students feel welcome and at ease.

When the carts were filled and the students checked out, each received a rack card in their bag and a Looking Smart Kit which included hygiene items for personal care.

One young girl said, “I had so much fun tonight and got very cool outfits.”

A bonus for the evening was the interest we generated among other Target shoppers. All the members had rack cards in their apron pockets so they could hand one to anyone who had questions about us.

Missy Cruz and Cheryl DeVincentis met a mother and young son from Louisville, KY, who were on vacation. After learning who we were and what was going on, she planned to go home and look up the Louisville chapter. As a fourth-grade teacher, she was impressed with what we did for the children in our community.

Janet Plzak helped at the final table before our shoppers left. She reported, “Throughout the evening, many Target shoppers stopped by our table to ask about Assistance League and what we were doing that night.

“One young woman visiting from Indiana was so impressed that she returned on her way out of the store to hand us a $20 bill. She told us that as a child she was helped by a similar program and wanted to show her gratitude for that help.

“Another young mother with two small children stopped by to see what we were doing. She was so impressed that she wanted to make a donation and we directed her to our website.”

“Besides being a great event for the Williston students,” Janet said, “Target shopping night proved to be a win for Assistance League of Greater Wilmington exposure in the community, and may even be a good source of donations in the future!”

This evening would not have been possible without the many members who gave their time and support for the program. A big thank you goes to everyone who participated…..and to Target.

The team is organized and ready to "shop 'til they drop" with Williston Middle School students.
President Sue Aber and School Philanthropy Vice President Sheila Osann take a break under the Target Circle philanthropic poster. Target was a helpful and generous partner.
A student shopper was ready to search the racks with Barb Lloyd. His mom and brother were eager to help.
Williston's social workers selected the students who participated in Shopping Night. They even had a backup list in case anyone dropped out.
Terri Gans and Cathy Egan-Gross had a great evening with their shopping buddies.
Students were excited to pick out what they wanted. Some took up to 90 minutes to find the perfect purchases.
Score! The night was a success for everyone!