By: Danni Eickenhorst
On December 22, in Brentwood was overrun with 100 children and their personal shoppers as The Salvation Army and Target granted Christmas wishes to those in need. The children were chosen by local Salvation Army officers to participate in the day's event.
The children were either children who weren't given Christmas gifts by donors through Angel Tree or those who have demonstrated significant need. Target corporation donated more than 60 $100 gift cards and the remainder were purchased with funds from an anonymous donor.
The event, part of a nationwide holiday inititiave by Target, certainly brightened the holidays for the children and their families. One little boy brought his packages to Major Lonneal Richardson and told him brightly, "I bought myself an air mattress!" When asked why he chose to buy an air mattress instead of toys or clothes, he answered simply that he was tired of sleeping on the floor.
Other children, when presented with their $100 gift card, opted to purchase gifts for their parents or siblings, or to only purchase basic needs items such as T-shirts or socks, but with gentle coaxing from their personal shopper volunteers, they were reminded that this day was only for them and that they should splurge on items they truly wanted, in addition to the things they felt they needed.
Sarah Cecil was on hand, volunteering at the event for the first time, "I think this event is truly amazing. I'm so glad I was a part of it. I was in the electronics aisle with some little guys and they were overwhelmed by all of the possibilities," she remarked, noting that one little boy bought an MP3 player for Christmas, which was quite remarkable considering he would have gone without gifts altogether without the event.
Kevin Demoff and Rampage from the St. Louis Rams were on hand to help make the day even more special for shoppers.
Teaira, 14, took the opportunity to buy herself a winter coat, sunglasses, mechanical pencils for school and pajamas. "I was surprised when I found out we were coming to shop today. My grandmother brought me. I didn't want much for Christmas, and I would have been happy with something small, but today they gave me the best Christmas ever."