The Alma Randolph Charitable Foundation hosted it’s 29th annual Back to School shopping trip Monday afternoon, helping 250 families. The organization has now served just over 17,000 families over nearly three decades.
Each student, from pre-school to high school seniors, was given a voucher for $100 that could be used at Gabe’s, Ross Dress for Less, Burlington, and/or Burke’s Outlet to purchase new clothes and shoes.
Alma Randolph Crump said that she wanted to ensure the families were able to receive what they needed, saying they could do so thanks to the several discount stores who participated.
“It’s neat being outside and just going from one store to another rather than just being in one spot,” Randolph Crump said.
Some of the families were refugees from the Congo, as Diane Ford and the International Center of Owensboro partnered with the Foundation to help those in need.
Ford said she heard about the program this year and was able to secure vouchers for 25 of the students they serve.
“We’ve been really fortunate that organizations like Alma Randolph stepped up, and that we’ve had donors from all over Owensboro … give and participate and support these kids,” Ford said.
Ford said other refugee families will be going shopping later this week through the Center’s donation drive though.
Nonetheless, she is thankful they can ensure the kids have some sense of comfortability and be a bit more confident going into their first day of school.
“These kids are absolutely wonderful. If you’ve ever been with them, they light up a room when they walk in. They’re grateful for every little thing,” Ford said. “There’s no group of kids more deserving of a new pair of shoes and an outfit and a backpack.”
This year was full circle for Ross Manager Ariana Whitsell, who used to attend the Back to School shopping trips as a child growing up.
“It makes me excited to give back to the community that I grew up in, and then to just be able to help those families as well and to see the kids’ eyes light up, that’s what excites me,” Whitsell said.