Store Donates Shopping Spree for Family in Need

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DICKSON CITY -- The busy shopping season for those in the retail industry is coming to a close, and for one store at a mall in Lackawanna County employees wanted to end the rush on a positive note. So, they all chipped in to provide a shopping spree for a family in need.

Jeanette Ortiz has never been in an American Eagle store, nor did she ever think she'd be able to take her kids, Brandon, 13, and Anissa, 10, on a shopping spree there. This day is different.

The kids delved right in, sorting through sweaters and shirts with a few hundred dollars to spend. It was a gift from American Eagle and from Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Brandon and Anissa are still on a waiting list for their own big brother and big sister, but they've had a tough 2012.

The shopping spree is meant to keep the kids' minds of their dad's illness. He's home-bound, suffering from congestive heart failure.

"Today was nice for Big Brothers Big Sisters to do this," said Anissa.

"Because of our family and all we're not allowed to go many places, because we have to take care of them. So, going here and getting things under $100, that's a very nice thing," said Brandon.

Brandon and Anissa Ortiz actually had $400 to spend, and it all came from the very employees who helped pick out the piles of clothes.

"Everybody in our store, we had a whole pot going the whole holiday. All the kids chipped in at least $5 or $10 a piece, and we were able to purchase four gift cards we could use to bless these kids for the holidays," said Zack Rollison, American Eagle Assistant Manager.

Organizers from Big Brothers Big Sisters watched on as the siblings made their way all over the store, mostly picking clothes that will keep them warm this winter. Those organizers said Brandon and Anissa should only be on the Big Brothers Big Sisters waiting list for a few more months.

"It's just such a gratifying feeling to help people, at any level," said Cindy Beeman, the organization's programming director.