Area students get free back-to-school shopping spree

By Anna Yee

July 17, 2013 Updated Jul 17, 2013 at 9:52 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Some area children are getting back into school mode.

On Wednesday, a handful of Peoria area students stocked up on school supplies at Target.

The big box store and Salvation Army teamed up to provide a shopping spree for 12,000 K-12 students across the nation.

The Peoria Salvation Army is one of the 39 divisions chosen to take part in the spree, which gives kids an $81 gift card to use.

Rich Draeger, the local assistant development director for the Salvation Army says the need for help is growing, since the number of kids at the Salvation Army family shelter is also growing.

"Last year especially, we had a couple months where we had 40 people in there, and we had 28 or 29 kids," said Draeger. "So, we're definitely seeing larger families that are staying in our family shelter, and so something like this, which we would not be able to provide without Target jumping in, is really a big help."

Canton and Pekin students are also taking part in a back-to-school shopping spree Wednesday at the East Peoria Target.

This is the 4th year the local Salvation Army is participating in the event.