Six-year-old Madelynn Shue was ready to head to first grade as she stood in Aberdeen's Target, quietly holding the teal-and-black backpack with a big, glittery heart that she had picked out for herself.
With the help of a Salvation Army volunteer, Madelynn continued her blue theme, choosing a small, blue composition book from the notebook section.
She was one of about 20 children at the store Tuesday morning for a shopping trip sponsored by Target and organized by The Salvation Army for Harford County families served by the non-profit.
Almost 500 Target stores nationwide are partnering with The Salvation Army to help 12,000 students in need, according to the non-profit's website.
The store gave $80 gift cards to each child, according to the website.
Denise Stewart, a lieutenant in The Salvation Army in Havre de Grace, said the amount was more than enough to cover basic supplies, but could not be used for clothes or other items.
"They have blessed us with enough for 20 kids," Stewart said, explaining it was the store's idea to let the children pick out their own supplies.
"It's something Target prefers us to do," she said. "It makes it very personal for them."
The store has specific guidelines the non-profit must follow. Parents came to the event with their children, but they were not allowed to shop with them.
"I believe Target has been generous with their support of us in this initiative," Stewart, who just began working with the Havre de Grace Salvation Army after moving from West Virginia, said about the program.