Rotary Club of Harlingen spreads holiday cheer with student shopping spree

The Rotary Club of Harlingen gave 25 HCISD students the opportunity for a shopping spree at Target.

Students were led by Rotary Club members and HCISD staff throughout the store to help them pick items and make their final purchases.

“We were selected to chaperone some very lucky students that were in need of some Christmas cheer,” Milam Elementary Counselor Christina Salazar said. “They got $100 gift cards for pretty much any item that they wanted. Right now, we are going around and shopping for basic needs and clothes and a few toys too, to make it a good Christmas.”

Jefferson Elementary fifth-grader Evan Gomez displayed his generosity when choosing the items he wanted to buy.

“This little one did not only think of himself,” Jefferson Elementary Counselor Rosa Armistead said. “He thought of his brothers and sisters.  He is one of a kind.”

Gomez and his mother stood outside of Target waiting for his sister who was still shopping inside.

“I bought some clothes for myself and toys for my brothers,” Gomez said.

His mother stood next to him with a proud and thankful smile behind her face mask.

“I am very grateful,” Yesika Gomez said.  “This was a really big blessing.”

The Rotary Club has hosted this shopping spree event for the last couple of years.

“We work with the HCISD Parental Involvement Department, “Harlingen Rotarian Jessica Belschner said. “As Rotarians, we take them shopping. It’s just something to give back to these kids. It’s a wonderful time and it helps us get in the spirit and realize how blessed we are.”

Superintendent Dr. Art Cavazos expressed his gratitude for the Rotary Club of Harlingen.

“Thank you to the Rotary Club of Harlingen for everything that they do for our students and our entire community,” Dr. Cavazos said. They made so many children happy today by providing them with this meaningful experience that they will remember for the rest of their lives. We appreciate their constant support, and we are truly blessed to have such incredible partners.”

Near the front of the store, ready to pay, stood Long Elementary second-grader Galilea Lucio who placed items on the checkout conveyer belt.

“I bought a sweatshirt, clothes, and some bath bombs, she said excitedly. “I also got some Elf pajamas too.”

Health and safety were kept a priority throughout the entire process of this event. Everyone wore a face mask, but their smiles and happiness beamed right through.

“It’s a really fun time for them and a really good opportunity, HCISD Parental Involvement Social Worker Patsy Sanchez said. “You can see their smiling faces and they are so happy.”

Rotary is an international service organization. The Rotary Club of Harlingen is made up of more than 100 business leaders and many other members of the community.

“Rotary is all about giving back,” Rotary Club of Harlingen President Wayne Lawry said. “Our motto is ‘Service above self.’”

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