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After nearly a quarter-century, the Elk Grove Optimists and several volunteers from throughout the Communities of Elk Grove Unified continue to partner in helping to make sure 100 EGUSD students in Kindergarten through fifth grades who are in need of support enjoy the Back-to-School shopping spree. This annual Kohl’s Child Spree event is held in July at Kohl’s department store and is sponsored by the Elk Grove Optimists in conjunction with the EGUSD Regional Student Support Centers and community partners.

The students were given $150 each to spend at the back-to-school shopping spree. Of the 100 students who participated, 20 were identified from the Homeless Education Program, 20 through Foster Youth Services, and 60 through Regional Student Support Centers.

Several representatives from Elk Grove Unified School District contributed to the success of the event and Board members Beth Albiani and Nancy Chaires Espinoza spent the day chaperoning children, helping them pick out new school clothes and shoes and accompanying them to all activities. Regional Student Support Center staff and representatives from Foster Youth Services were instrumental in welcoming and guiding the students and families throughout the event. Of the many volunteers, several were teachers, administrators, and support staff who helped chaperone to support students throughout the morning.

This year’s total monetary and in-kind donations reached an annual high of $36,610. Event sponsors included: Elk Grove Optimists, Gil Moore Family Foundation, Elk Grove Lions, Sacramento Optimist Breakfast Club, Sutterville Heights Optimist Club, Kohl’s, Elk Grove Rotary, Laguna Sunrise Rotary, Soroptimist of Elk Grove, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, James Mark Salon, Florin Road Bingo, Kiwanis Club of Elk Grove, Elk Grove Milling, and many anonymous sponsors from the community.

Together, these individuals gave 100 children their undivided attention to peruse the aisles for back-to-school clothes, be encouraging during a haircut, wait outside during a vision exam, explain the importance of using a dental kit, help parents with booster seats, try helmets on for bike safety, put butter and syrup on freshly made pancakes and have a breakfast chat about school and favorite subjects, greet and shake hands with police officers, read a book, take a selfie with their student and the Chick-fil-A plush cow mascot, get a balloon and even do face painting with them. That time spent was priceless.

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