School shopping is considered by some to be a necessary evil. But for the 60 children who shopped Mervyn's in Carson City on Saturday morning, it was an unexpected blessing.
"We've been talking a lot and shopping and just having fun," said 9-year-old Nick.
Mervyn's, the Salvation Army and Kiwanis sponsored shopping sprees for 60 needy children for $100 each.
Each child was assigned a chaperone to help them pick clothes in appropriate sizes and budget the allowance.
"They're seeing what's on sale so they're getting the biggest bang for their dollars," said Ken Beaton, the publicity chairman of the Carson City Kiwanis.
Henry Kribs of the Dayton Kiwanis Club was paired up with ten-year-old Keith.
"At first, I felt a little awkward but as it worked out, it was very good," Kribs said. "It was a very rewarding time and this young man was very cooperative."
Together, the two picked out a pair of jeans, three shirts, a belt, T-shirts, tennis shoes and 10 pairs of socks.
Keith liked the belt the best.
"It's just a cool-looking belt," he said.
Kribs liked the shoes.
"The shoes are very nice," he said. "They'll last him forever."
Keith also had certain guidelines he had to follow.
"My dad won't let me wear any baggy clothes so I didn't buy any," he said.
The children are selected by the Salvation Army through various programs.
"It kind of gives them a going-back-to-school lift," said Vi Bibee, the director of social services at the Salvation Army. "They have clothes like everybody else and it's good to feel important."
She said children are selected from Carson City, Douglas County, the Washoe Tribe and other surrounding areas.
"They're from all different nationalities," Bibee said. "We try to make it very diverse."
Maureen Hamtak of the Kiwanis Club came back for the third year. She helped 6-year-old Ashley find clothes to wear to the first grade in the fall.
"I enjoy being with the kids," she said. "My kids are all older and I can't help them shop anymore."
Ashley, who said she is not nervous at all about starting first grade at Bordewich-Bray Elementary, was pleased with her purchases.
"I like everything," she said. Her favorite was a pair of brown sandals with a clunky heel.
"They're big and they're high," Ashley said.
This was the eighth spree sponsored by the Mervyn's store in Carson City.
"It's a lot of fun," said a team leader, Laura Wiggins. "It's our biggest event of the year."
Each child was also given a backpack and pencil holder. After the shopping spree, McDonald's donated breakfast.