Club also has coats and shoes events planned in coming weeks

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FARMINGTON — Four of Target’s checkout lanes were set aside on Wednesday and Thursday evening for a special clientele — local school kids in need of a winter wardrobe who each received $100 from Rio Del Sol Kiwanis in its Clothes for Kids event.

Local clubs have hosted the Clothes for Kids fundraiser for 11 years, according to event organizer Glenda Fox. Kiwanis collects donations from local business partners and community members, and hosts fundraisers, such as Dining with the Dead and the duck race at Riverfest, for this and other events.

This year’s Clothes for Kids event invited approximately 350 local schoolchildren to participate, Fox said. Kiwanis works with guidance counselors at elementary schools from the Aztec, Bloomfield, Central Consolidated and Farmington school districts to identify children who need clothes as the winter approaches as part of the club’s mission.

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“Our mission for Kiwanis is we change the world one child and one community at a time,” Fox said. “What I feel like, by us doing this, it brings those children up to a point where they feel like they can trust the world, that it will be kind to them, and they know that someone cares enough about them to make sure that they’re going to succeed in life. That’s how I look at it.”

It wasn’t just Kiwanis members showing kids that the Four Corners community cares at the event. More than 140 volunteers helped with the two-day event, including employees from major sponsors the Navajo Transitional Energy Company and WPX Energy, as well as students from eight local high school groups.

Volunteers accompanied families on their shopping trips and were tasked with acting as human calculators to make sure recipients got as close to $100 as they could.

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Farmington High School junior Emily Nguyen, who is involved in the school’s Key Club and National Honor Society, shopped with Alicia Jackson and her son Devon Bomboy on Thursday evening.

“It’s so nice, watching them choose these clothes, the kids — it just makes my heart happy,” Nguyen said.

Being able to participate in the Clothes for Kids program makes a big difference, Jackson said.

“I’m the only parent. His dad died in 2012, so it’s really hard for me, and this really helps us out a lot,” Jackson said.

Kiwanis also stages other events for local kids in need, including Coats for Kids and the local club’s first Shoes for Kids.

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Shoes for Kids is a Kiwanis collaboration with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomfield, Hilltop and Farmington that will deliver brand-name shoes to 232 students in the Four Corners, according to Paul McQueary, a Kiwanis member who is involved in the event. This is the first year the local Kiwanis club has participated in the international shoe campaign, which allows local clubs to purchase shoes from companies like Adidas, Nike and Skechers at $15 a pair for local children in need. The shoes will be distributed to local children in mid-November.

The local Kiwanis club will also present Coats for Kids on Nov. 11 at Fire Station No. 6 at 3100 W. Main St. in Farmington. Between 700 and 900 new and used coats will be available for children who participated in the Clothes for Kids event, as well as their siblings and other needy children, according to Kiwanis president Brian Turner.

Megan Petersen covers business and education for The Daily Times. Reach her at 505-564-4621 or mpetersen@daily-times.com.  

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