Children benefit at Need Kids shopping project

Written by Mike Siroky. Posted in Community News, People in the News

Published on January 11, 2012 with No Comments

The Portage Exchange Club held its 25th annual Needy Kids’ Christmas Shopping Project at Portage’s Kmart Super Center. The club’s project benefitted 123 children from 57 families.

The names of the families were provided by the eight elementary schools’ home/school advisors. They select families not receiving help from other holiday programs.  Each school provides up to 15 names. 

Parents are contacted by letter and offered an opportunity to come on the assigned day to shop for clothing for their children. The amount of money depends on the number of children in the family. Parents can purchase anything that the children can wear, from underwear and socks, to boots and winter coats, to jeans and dress clothes.

Kmart helps by providing two registers and several cashiers assigned to this project. The holiday sales help parents make the most of their dollars. The store also provides a candy treat for each child in the family. 

This project is the culmination of a year of fundraising events for the club, including a pancake breakfast at Applebee’s and a car raffle. This year, the club’s funds were augmented by a grant from ArcelorMittal.  Project co-chair Brad Clapp, a manager at ArcelorMittal, applied for the $2000 grant offered to employees for benevolent activities.

Fifteen club members were on hand to assist with checking parents in and explaining the program, as well as folding and bagging the clothing. 

Several parents sent thank-you notes to the club following the shopping spree.

“Thank you so much for the $100 gift.  Michael needed clothes and he loved his new shoes and coat. You have made his Christmas a special one. God bless you,” wrote one parent.

 “I have been sick and off work since 2009, so this was truly a blessing,” wrote another.

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About Mike Siroky

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the above excellent column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Mike Siroky is a writer and editor. He is a native of Northwest Indiana. He has worked in media from coast to coast. To contact Mike, email mikel@the

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