HAYWARD, CALIF -- Last Saturday, more than one hundred students received new clothes and a backpack full of school supplies thanks to the Hayward Rotary Club’s annual Child Spree program. On Saturday, Aug. 22 at 7a.m., eager K-8 students met at JC Penney at Southland Mall and were paired with a Rotary Club member or other community volunteer.  Together, using a list of needed items identified by the parent and a $100 gift card, they purchased essential clothing needed to start school. JC Penney offered 25 percent off the entire purchase and waived sales tax, so the children were able to purchase more essential back-to-school clothing.
JC Penney staff volunteered to work the early shift in order to share the joy with the children and their parents and the Nestle kiosk opened early to offer discounted coffee and snacks for the families.
“This is the 14th year that Hayward Rotary has had the opportunity to sponsor an event that meets the needs of so many deserving children,” said Janiene Langford, one of the event coordinators for Rotary. “It is gratifying that so many businesses, organizations, and individuals in Hayward continue to step up and support this program.”
Student participants were identified in partnership with the Hayward Police Department’s Youth and Family Services Bureau. At the conclusion of their shopping spree, the students picked out a backpack and book donated by Friends of the Hayward Library.
During the event, parents and guardians were able to participate in a resource fair with tables from Hayward Adult School’s Youth Enrichment Services, Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center, Hayward Area Recreation and Park District, Life Chiropractic College West, Hayward Library’s Literacy Plus, Hayward Promise Neighborhood, Hayward Police Department’s Youth and Family Services, and Kinship Support Services. 
More than 200 community members joined Hayward Rotary in this project, including staff from Moreau Catholic High School, volunteers from the Boy Scouts of America, Chabot College students, the Cal State East Bay volleyball team, and Redwood Chapel Community Church.
In addition to JC Penney, businesses and organizations who helped to sponsor the project included Fremont Bank, Calpine, Costco Wholesale, Give Something Back Office Supply, Kaiser Permanente, United Association Local Union 342, Sakura of America, and Friends of Hayward Library. 
Child Spree has helped provide new clothing for students for 14 years through partnerships with Mervyn’s, Target, and JCPenney. To volunteer to help out in the future, contact the Hayward Rotary Club at P.O. Box 629, Hayward, CA  94543