Two hundreds dollars is a lot of money for a kid to spend on presents for Christmas but that’s the amount given to 10 lucky Neptune students for their own personal shopping spree at the Target store in Seaview Square, Ocean Township.
The Neptune police department and the township’s school district, in conjunction with Target, gave $200 gift cards to each of the 10 students Dec. 11 to help brighten their holiday season.
“Our group was able to identify 10 children of need in the Neptune school system during the Christmas season and allow them to shop at Target through a grant sponsored by Target. We asked the principal at each township school to choose at least one child that was of need, had character, and deserves and appreciates this award to shop for Christmas presents in December,” Police Chief James M. Hunt Jr. said.
The schools subsequently submitted a list of the children and arrangements were made by the parents to have their children brought to Target to meet with store officials, school officials, and the police and then shop.
But not all of the students, who ranged in age from pre-school through high school, were buying items just for themselves.
Ten-year-old Kavon Petersen, who attends Shark River Hills Elementary School, said he was going to purchase presents for his parents with most of his money, although he did have his eyes on a $20 computer app for himself.
“I feel really special right now. I was picked and I am really happy and thankful about it,” he said before beginning his shopping spree.
Tiffany Cope, whose 11-year-old son Kobe Conklin was another student awarded the $200 gift certificate, said that the gift card makes a big difference this Christmas.
“He has a chance to pick out his own stuff, which is kind of nice. I am very proud of him and he has made major improvements in school, both socially and educationally. He has always been shy and he is now coming out of his shell,” she said.
Cope said her son has his eye on a video gaming system and other fun items.
“Clothes are up to mommy and he gets to just have some fun,” she said.
Superintendent of Schools David J. Mooij said the gift cards have been given out the past three years to deserving students.
“This has been a wonderful opportunity for students over the years and it’s one of the many things the police department does for our students. And the kids love it,” he said.
Mooij said that last year a student, who was left homeless due to Superstorm Sandy, turned around and donated her gift card to others in need instead.
“That’s just an example of what great kids we have in our district,” he said.