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Kids get free shopping spree

Leonard second-grader Jordayna Barrett just loves her brand new fuzzy pink gloves. (click for larger version)
September 29, 2010 - Smiles and hugs were the only forms of currency needed last week as nearly 200 local elementary students went on a free shopping spree.

Thanks to the Rochester Hills-based Assistance League of Southeastern Michigan, 83 Oxford kids and 104 Lake Orion kids each received a brand new winter coat, knit hat, gloves, underwear, socks, shoes, two shirts, a pair of jeans, a book and personal hygiene kit.

It was all part of the nonprofit group's "Operation School Bell" program, which since 1995 has helped meet the needs of more than 12,300 students. This was the second year the Oxford and Lake Orion school districts participated.

The K-5 students were selected by their respective school social workers and bused down to the Rochester Community Schools administration building located at 501 W. University Dr.

There they entered a large room set up like a department store, complete with clothing racks and folks taking measurements.

Each student was paired with an upbeat Assistance League volunteer, who helped them shop and fill up the large duffel bag each kid received upon entering the store.

To learn more about the Assistance League of Southeastern Michigan, please visit the group's website at www.semich.assistanceleague.org or call (248) 656-0414.

To help fund its charitable activities, the organization runs an upscale resale shop called the ReSale Connection, located at 204 S. Main St. in Rochester.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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