D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - Getting back in the classroom isn't cheap. Parents spend hundreds of dollars to thousands for school supplies and clothing. But one South Mississippi company is hoping to help with some of the financial burden of back to school season.
Eight-year-old Tiana Miller is enjoying a day of shopping with her aunt. She is one of 30 children attending the YMCA who received a $100 gift card to Academy Sports and Outdoors.
"Most of them are heading back to the shoes because we have such a big selection, socks, shorts and shirts, backpacks and lunch boxes," Softlines Manager Eva Stockstill said.
Stockstill said this is Academy's way of giving back to the community by allowing these kids to pick out their own school supplies for free.
"It's to help out family members that can't afford stuff," said parent Danny Ray.
"Tell me how exciting is it today? Really exciting," said YMCA member Mason Autry.
Aisle by aisle, Academy Sports and Outdoors employees helped the children pick out their own unique back to school look.
YMCA members said the gesture is something unexpected, but greatly appreciated.
"I was really happy and the rest of that day I was really excited to go and I couldn't wait," said YMCA member Tiana Miller.
"Most of them decided to cheer. I had one mom who teared up and said that we didn't know how bad she needed it. I had another start smiling, 'Oh nothing good ever happens to us.' So it was really heartwarming to see the reaction from both the parents and the kids," said Mary Dubuisson, the site director for East Hancock YMCA's after school and summer camp program.
This year marks the 8th year Academy Sports and Outdoors has held the back to school donation event.