D'IBERVILLE -- Christmas came early for 28 Coast kids Thursday as each got a $100 shopping spree at Academy Sports and Outdoors in D'Iberville. The new store officially opens today.
The shopping spree was courtesy of Academy Sports, which donated 30 $100 gift cards to the Boys & Girls Club of the Gulf Coast.
"We hold these 'Give Back' events every time we open a new store," D'Iberville store director Max Smith said. "It's a great way to build a relationship in the community."
The children were paired with personnel who showed the young shoppers around the store. They could buy anything they wanted with the $100.
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"The kids get really excited about shoes," Smith said. "We also see them get a lot of bicycles. For some of the children, this will be their Christmas present to themselves because their family may be struggling financially. We are always glad to be able to do this for the community."
Academy communications director Eric Herrera said he has seen some pretty interesting purchases at Give Back events.
"I've seen a kid spend the $100 on candy," he said. "The best thing I ever saw was one time a girl bought an above-ground pool that was on sale. She took it home and her mom set it up for her."
Boys & Girls Club director John Pugh said the children were selected from about 300 club members.
"We picked the kids that we thought would really need this," he said. "We also selected the kids who go above and beyond for the club and ones that have shown good leadership skills. We used a lot of criteria to pick the 30 club members. But two couldn't make it so we only brought 28."
Pugh said one child he felt deserved the opportunity was Carsyn Trochesset for going above and beyond what is expected of him at the club.
"Carsyn is always sweeping or mopping and helping people out at the club," he said. "He was also recently named student of the month."
Carsyn, 12, said club members have given him a special nickname because of his service work.
"They call me 'the janitor' because I'm always cleaning. I'm very excited about this shopping trip. I'm going to use my money to buy some baseball equipment because I want to learn how to play baseball."