Shopping: You can help a veteran reach the summit

News-DemocratJuly 5, 2013 

Belleville-based Allsup wants your help to raise $3,000. The money will help defray expenses of military veterans participating in a Nov. 11 climb of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa, called Veterans to the Summit.

Allsup is holding a soft goods drive through July 15. It's looking for usable clothing and shoes in all sizes, blankets, bed sheets, comforters and curtains, towels, draperies, tablecloths, soft dolls and stuffed animals. (Please do not include electronics, appliances, furniture, mattresses, books, tapes, CDs and hard toys.) Allsup's goal is to collect 30,000 pounds of soft goods, which will provide $3,000 to support veterans.

Put donations in large kitchen trash bags and drop them off between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at Allsup's headquarters, located off Illinois 15, at 300 Allsup Place. Stop first in the main reception area to learn where to drop off items.

Veterans to the Summit provides an opportunity for former service members to experience camaraderie and a sense of belonging while also contributing to ongoing development efforts in Moshi, Tanzania. The team, which also includes active-duty military, will not only climb a peak, but also will spend time working with children at the Mwereni Integrated School for the Blind.

Veterans to the Summit is sponsored by the Arizona-based K2 Adventures Foundation. Each participating veteran, who include able-bodied and disabled, must raise $10,000 by Sept.1 to cover the trek's expenses, including airfare and supplies. The soft goods drive will offset their costs.

Local veterans interested in participating in the program can contact

Fuego at St. Clair Square has a really cool way to display your photos: The Photoclip Mobile ($15.95). Made of light stainless steel, it comes assembled, so you just hang it up and clip your images to it. Of course, if you're creative, you can make crafty animals out of colored paper and hang them, too. Or inspirational sayings.

Bath & Body Works at the mall sells all kinds of lotions and soups, as well as some accessories. One bath item I thought would make a nice addition to a personal gift basket for a wedding shower would be a shower or scrub puff. They come in about a dozen colors (to match with your purchases, of course) and cost just $3.50.

A trend I'm not crazy about: Small flasks for a purse. The Icing at the mall has them for $17, covered in faux leather with studs on them. I can think of a lot of essentials to carry in my handbag; this is not one of them!

It's silly, but fun, and you get free food: On Friday, Chick-fil-A customers who come to any location of the eatery, such as the one in Fairview Heights, dressed "head to hoof" in cow attire will receive a free Chick-fil-A Meal. Customers who are too chicken to go all out in cow attire will receive a free entree of choice for wearing a cow-spotted accessory, such as a hat, scarf, tie or purse. It's part of the Ninth Annual Cow Appreciation Day.

Through Sunday, buy a pair of guys or girls shorts and get a pair for $5 at Rue 21 at the mall.

Attention all fans of tiny blue TV cartoon characters: Smurfette is now among the yet-to-be-stuffed at Build-A-Bear Workshops. Just in time for the release of "The Smurfs 2" in theaters this summer.

Check Walmart for summertime games, such as Ladder Ball or Bean Bag Toss sets for $19.86.

A favorite outdoor party appliance: Emerson's portable icemaker, on sale at Target for $119, regularly $159.99. Price good through today.

Anyone who uses salon hair products knows how expensive they can be. Save some bucks and still look beautiful with Fairview Heights retailer Ulta Beauty's sale on jumbo-size professional haircare products. Starting Sunday and running through July 27, liter-size bottles from names like Redken, Joico, Matrix Biolage, Wella, Chico and more are $12.99 to $19.99 each. You get a free pump with each liter purchase.

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