From across the store, animated shouts kept erupting.

About 20 teens meandered around racks of clothes at the Kohl’s location in Franklin. They pushed around carts filled with the basics of a summer wardrobe — shorts, t-shirts, jeans, shoes, socks and more.

Each youth was in foster or kinship care, and this was the first chance most of them have to go on this kind of shopping spree. The anticipation in their voices was electric.

“I am so excited about this,” one participant exclaimed as they waited to start.

The shopping experience was organized by Resources of Hope, a local agency aimed at meeting the physical and emotional needs of foster youth. With funding from Greenwood Christian Church, the organization was able to provide participants in its Teen Connect program with a shopping experience like they’d never had before.

Working together, they were able to make sure that young people within the foster system had brand new clothes they could feel confident about.

“Loving kids is near to God’s heart, so our church is excited and grateful, through the Teen Connect program, to partner with Resources of Hope in providing for the needs of foster kids and their families,” said Matt Giebler, head pastor of Greenwood Christian Church.

Resources of Hope was founded to remedy an issue that kept coming up in the foster community. When a young person enters foster care, they often arrive at their foster family with only the clothing on their backs, said Renae Furnee, executive director for the group.

From its Whiteland headquarters, Resources of Hope operates a clothing closet for young people of all ages and sizes. Kids and their foster families can come and pick out outfits, toys, blankets and more to make their transition a little bit easier.

Other programs, such as support groups, outreach events and the Birthday Blessing distribution, gives comfort during a traumatic time.

Resources of Hope started its Teen Connect program to cater specifically to older foster youth. Once a month, the group gets together to play games, watch movies and take part in other activities designed for teens.

A shopping spree was something Furnee hoped she could do one day, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the infusion of funding.

“I had wanted to do a shopping spree for years. I’d seen other organizations do that, and thought it was a fantastic idea to show the kids they’re valued and supported, and get them the items they need,” she said. “So we had this opportunity with Greenwood Christian Church.”

That funding materialized from a generous gift from Greenwood Christian Church, which wanted to give Resources of Hope their Christmas offering this year. The goal was to raise $60,000 — a figure the congregation greatly exceeded by raising $75,995.

The money is being used to fund the Teen Connect program for the year, with some earmarked for this shopping spree.

“Teens are often overlooked in the foster system, so we were very excited to team with them for this opportunity,” said Lydia Midkiff, early childhood director at Greenwood Christian Church. “We have paired with quite a few organizations over time for our Christmas offering. However, we have been really drawn to being the hands and feet of Christ in helping kids who otherwise wouldn’t have these opportunities.”

Furnee worked with families within the Teen Connect program, as well as staff from Johnson County CASA, to sign up young people in need of new clothing. On Tuesday evening, the group met together at Kohl’s.

Two teens were paired with an adult “shopping buddy,” who could help them pick out appropriate items and ensure they stayed within their budget. Each youth was given a shopping list, to pick out the clothing they needed most. If there was money left over, they could get additional items.

They were tentative at first, not sure what to look for first. But at the encouragement of their shopping buddies, they quickly got in the spirit. The teens picked out flashy sneakers, trendy shorts and hoodies, and essentials such as undershirts and underwear.

For the foster parents of these teens, the opportunity was a big help.

“I think it’s amazing they’d even do this for the kids. It sure helps the parents out,” said Maryanne Russell, who brought her older foster children to take part in the shopping spree. “They were so excited that they’d get to pick out their own stuff, because if I pick it, it’s not the right stuff.”

The experience was so positive that Furnee hopes to have another shopping spree in the future.

“It means the world we’re able to provide this. We’re just the connecting point; if it wasn’t for Greenwood Christian Church, there’s no way we could provide this service,” Furnee said.