When I was in high school I volunteered with an organization that, among many other activities, took under-privileged children on mini shopping sprees to Kohl’s before the start of each school year so the children could invest in a couple of back-to-school outfits. Kohl’s donated all of the money for the shopping sprees and did not alert the press that this was happening. I would say we had about 20 children who each got to go on a $100 shopping spree. I vividly remember that afternoon. The young girl I was paired with was so shy at first and really had no concept of how far $100 could go. She walked out of the store with a bag as big as her little body and a huge grin on her face. Even as a somewhat disillusioned teenager I knew that shopping spree would be something that little girl would remember for a long time.
When Kohl’s reached out to me a few weeks ago and offered to send me a $250 gift card that I could use to “pay it forward” and do some good in my community I readily accepted. I knew I wanted to embark on a similar experience to what I did well over a decade ago and bring smiles to the faces of a few children. I worked with Lydia Home here in Chicago, an amazing organization that provides help to families in crisis and shelter to abused children. While I could not take the children on a mini shopping spree, I received the names and ages of three children who needed gifts this holiday season. I then went on a shopping spree that would make all fantabulouslyfrugal.com readers proud.
I was armed with a Kohl’s coupon that would save me 25% off $100+ purchases, and being the holiday season, every last item I purchased was on sale. I wasn’t looking for sale items, but you know how Kohl’s rolls – discounts for all! Thanks to the 25% off coupon, my budget allowed me to spend approximately $110 on each child. Because of those fantastic sale prices and the Kohl’s coupon, I was able to purchase 10 items for each child. I picked up everything from slippers covered in glitter to pajama bottoms to nail polish to a Chicago Bears winter cap.
Hopefully the large gift bags brought as big a smile to the faces of those deserving children as it did to mine while I was choosing the items each child would receive.
Major kudos to Kohl’s for working so hard to bring joy to so many children. In addition to arming bloggers like myself with gift cards to help our communities, Kohl’s just donated $500,000 to Toys for Tots. Kohl’s also runs a Kohl’s Cares merchandise program each holiday season. With this program you’ll find classic stories such as The Wizard of Oz, The Night Before Christmas and The Velveteen Rabbit along with coordinating plush toys for just $5 each. Kohl’s donates 100 percent of the net profit to children’s health and education initiatives nationwide. Since 2000, Kohl’s Cares has raised more than $208 million for children’s health and education programs in local communities across the country. I love offers like this because you get a fantastic gift and benefit children in need at the same time.
If you’re looking for more small ways to “Pay It Foward” this holiday season, I highly recommend checking out the blog post Random Acts of Christmas Kindness. This is one of my favorite things I’ve ever found on Pinterest. The post contains many fantastic ideas for quickly and easily bringing a smile to people in your community.
Disclosure: While Kohl’s provided me with the $250 gift card that purchased gifts for children in need, all opinions above are clearly my own.