RIVERDALE -- Alma Gomez looked at rows of shoes, working hard to pick out her favorite pair.
As she found the right size, a grin spread across her face.
That same grin appeared again when she found a bright pink shirt and held it up to check the size. The 6-year-old, along with several other Ogden-area kids, spent the morning back-to-school shopping with a Target gift card, thanks to the Salvation Army and Target.
Each of the shoppers received $81 on a gift card and shopped with a volunteer from the Salvation Army. They were dropped off at the Ogden Salvation Army by their parents or guardians.
"We want them to be able to pick what they want," said Sam LeMar, who helped direct the event for the Ogden Salvation Army.
Children from across America are participating in the national event, LeMar said. "The kids are loving it, and they really need it."
Renna Ayres Tankersley, a welcoming sergeant with the Salvation Army, said she loved helping the kids. This was her first year as a chaperone shopper.
"We are helping their families be able to afford other things. It's a great incentive for parents to then be able to afford the student fees and things like that," she said.
"Hopefully, their families will be able to afford a bit more," she said as she bent down to help one of the kids try on a shoe.
LeMar said the parents send a list with the kids that includes their sizes and needs, so the chaperones have a guide to follow, but for the most part, the kids can pick the things they need.
For 10-year-old Noah Parkinson, that was the best part.
"It's really cool. We get to pick our clothes that we want, not what my mom tells me to get," he said, with two thumbs up.
He talked with his chaperone, showing him the shoes and clothing he liked. He was careful to pick out the right things. He proudly showed off the shorts he had already chosen and thought long and hard about what else he would need.
Other shoppers grinned as they watched their new clothes cross the conveyer belt at the checkout stand.
Target store manager Britney Estey said she really enjoys being a part of events such as the Salvation Army's.
"It's wonderful," she said as she watched the children shop. "We try to make sure their experience is amazing."
The Salvation Army will do more back-to-school events, but this one kind of kicks things off, Tankersley said.
The candidates are carefully chosen by need, LeMar said. The chaperones are also carefully screened.
"They have to undergo a strenuous background check. We want people who are going to be good with these kids."