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Pee Dee Pride Camp children treated to shopping spree

August 3, 2018

A camper participates in shopping spree at Academy Sports.

FLORENCE, S.C. – Thirty children attending Camp Pee Dee Pride received a helping hand for the coming school year Thursday morning.

The children were each given a $100 gift card from Academy Sports and Outdoors to spend on back-to-school supplies like backpacks, shoes and clothes.

Camden Fortin, one of the campers at Academy Sports on Thursday, said he was spending his gift card on two pairs of shoes and socks. Camden will be a second-grader at Lucy T. Davis Elementary School when school returns in the fall.

The shopping sprees arose out of the relationship between the camp’s organizer, the Florence County Sheriff’s Office, and Academy Sports.

“Academy Sports has been doing these programs with us throughout the years,” Captain Wayne Howard of the sheriff’s office said. “Last year, they did it for disabled veterans and we had ’em in the store. There were 10 soldiers given $200 gift cards and they shopped for hunting supplies.”

This year, the sheriff’s office was approached by Josh Miller, a regional marketing manager with Academy, who said he wanted to do something for the kids and Camp Pee Dee Pride.

“He told me to find 30 kids and bring them in,” Howard continued. “He would give them a shopping spree.”

Howard said Sheriff Kenney Boone was 100 percent behind the program. Regardless of income, the children receiving the gift cards Thursday would be able to walk into their schools with new shoes, backpacks, and clothes.

“It’s just good that we got a business here in Florence that not only supports our kids but also the veterans throughout the year,” Howard said.

“For me, I’m new to the Florence area,” store director Al Bishop said. “I’ve only been up here a little less than a year after transferring from another store. So this gives me the opportunity to get involved with the community a little more and get to know everybody here.”

“It’s a big part of Academy’s culture to be involved in the community,” Bishop said. “So we’ve got thirty kids that are going to kick off their school year. It’s a great feeling for me and for the company itself.”

Camp Pee Dee Pride is in its 22nd year, according to its website. The camp is for 8-12 year olds only and is held over two weeks during the summer months.

Academy Sports and Outdoors is a sports and outdoor retailer with more than 245 stores.

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