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Volunteers have a blast helping kids shop and maximize their $100.

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Holiday Shopping with Heart

Shopping therapy just got kinder and warmer. For volunteer opportunities with Kids Matter International, check out the QR code.

Marti Conner first got involved with Kids Matter International in 2010. A board member invited her to volunteer at a clothing event called “Around the Block” in partnership with KOHL's Department Store.

It was a cold day, and Conner was touched by the many families waiting in line, braving the chilly weather for hours. The kids were wrapped in sweatshirts and blankets to keep them warm instead of coats.

After that experience, Conner recalls, she volunteered annually at each event and helped with fundraising. 

Then her volunteer work took an unexpected turn.

“In 2016, just before retiring from her career in healthcare marketing and strategic planning, I was approached by the board chairman asking if I would consider becoming president and help grow the charity strategically. I’ve served in this position ever since,” says Conner of her six-year tenure.

During that time frame, Kids Matter International went from serving 750 kids annually to more than 2,000. The organization is a platinum-rated charity for six years in a row with Candid (previously GuideStar); 87 cents of every $1 goes back to its programs. Ratings are based on financial transparency, accountability, serving a diverse population and other metrics. 

Conner is proud of its mission focus during this time of the year.

“While many organizations focus on toys for Christmas, we focus on clothing events held every November in partnership with KOHL’S and Twisted X (shoes and boots). The kids we help desperately need warm clothes and shoes to prepare for the cold winter. Each child has $100 to spend. With the discounts and tax-free shopping, they can leave with $250-$300 in new merchandise. For most of these kids, it’s the first time they have new clothes versus hand-me-downs or clothes from a secondhand store,” says Conner.

Kids Matter needs volunteers year-round, but its greatest need is during the clothing events held the first three weekends in November. Volunteers shop with the kids and keep up with how much is being spent to ensure they maximize the $100. It’s an unforgettable experience not only for the kids but also for the volunteers. See the QR code for more information.

  • Previous recipients of Around the Block in partnership with KOHL'S..
  • Along with warm clothes for winter, each child gets to select warm shoes or boots.
  • Kids Matter International seeks financial donations as well as empathetic and energetic volunteers.
  • Volunteers have a blast helping kids shop and maximize their $100.