Rotary brings smiles to kids with shopping spree

December 10, 2018

HARLINGEN — Larissa Viera had a big smile on her face after finding two LOL dolls.

“You squeeze them and they spit water,” said Larissa, 8. “They can do all kinds of things.”

Larissa was one of 25 children from through the Harlingen school district who went on a shopping spree yesterday morning at Target.

The event was organized by the Rotary Club of Harlingen and the Harlingen High School Rotary Interact.

“We work with Parental Involvement there at the school district,” said Monica Clark, service projects director for Rotary Club of Harlingen.

“Parental Involvement provides us with a list of names of kids that maybe need a winter coat,” Clark said. “Perhaps they’ll need more than that, perhaps shoes or jeans or things like that.”

The kids slowly filled the aisles looking for toys, clothes, movies — anything that caught their eye. Each child had $100 to spend.

Rita Dominguez, 8, continuously chatted up Kathy Preddy as the Rotarian helped her shop.

“Have you thought about what you would like to get for Christmas?” Preddy asked her.

"I was thinking of a little dress, a little dress for Christmas,” answered Rita.

“You want a fancy dress or a school dress?” Preddy asked.

“Something Christmasy,” answered the forthright girl.

They came to a rack with tops glittering with color.

“That would be good with a skirt,” Preddy said. “Would you like that?”

Rita answered with a firm yes, and soon she had colorful clothing in her basket.

Her grandmother, Rosa Dominguez, appreciated the gesture from the community.

“I think it’s great because she gets to have something to wear,” Dominguez said. “It helps a lot. It shows here there are people out there that could help her. Somebody does care for her and for all the kids that need it.”

Meanwhile, Bridget Horta and Micaela Leandro, both 18, went through the aisles with Larissa. She’d already filled her cart with shoes and dolls, but there was still more to be had.

“I need a sweater,” Larissa said. Bridget and Micaela, both members of HHS Rotary Interact, pushed the cart slowly until Larissa found a sweater, dolls, a T-shirt and two pairs of shoes.

Larissa’s mother Maria Viera was grateful.

“I feel blessed,” Viera said. “Right now I’m not working. Usually my sister helps out with her clothes and everything. I’ve got two kids, but at least one is getting help.”

Everyone considered the entire event a success.

“It’s gone really well,” said Patsy Sanchez, a social worker with Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District Parental Involvement.

“We have had a great turnout,” Sanchez said. “It’s a great opportunity.”