North Miami Beach Police Department Maj. Kathy Katerman, chair of Lions Club’s Back-to-School Shopping Spree Committee, says the idea is not only to let the children stock up on school supplies but also to learn some basic budgeting skills.
She says the children were taken to Walmart stores in North Miami Beach, Hallandale Beach, Hialeah-Miami Lakes and Florida City.
“The Lions Club raised about $20,000 to be able to present each kid who took part with a $50 gift card,” Maj. Katerman says. “Social workers choose the ten most deserving kids from each of 40 participating elementary schools, and they were accompanied on the shopping trip by a parent or a Lions volunteer.”
She says this is the seventh year the Aventura North Miami Beach Lions Club has sponsored the program.
“We always do it right before school starts,” she says. “We do four stores simultaneously with 100 kids at each store.”
Another feature of the day, Maj. Katerman says, is the Heiken Children’s Vision Program, an effort overseen by Miami Lighthouse for the Blind. “It’s a $180-value free eye exam, and glasses if they need them,” she says. “This was a voluntary feature, but many took part.”
Maj. Katerman says money for the event comes from year-long fundraising efforts.
The Aventura North Miami Beach Lions Club, one of more than 70 Lions Clubs in Florida, welcomes new members, says Secretary Carmen Gomez.
“We meet every Tuesday at 12 noon in Tony Roma’s, 18050 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles Beach,” she says. “Come on out and join us for lunch.”
For information about the Aventura North Miami Beach Lions Club and to make reservations to attend an upcoming luncheon, call 954-850-1407.