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Kroger gives $20,000 in school supplies to Augusta teachers

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 9:10 PM
Last updated Wednesday, July 23, 2014 12:50 AM
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As cars flooded parking areas and cluttered the roads surrounding Westside High School and packs of people began entering the building, it seemed like the beginning of the school year had occurred several weeks early.

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Susan Rutt (left) and Kim McDowell pick up copy paper as Kroger gave away $20,000 in school supplies to teachers.  TODD BENNETT/STAFF
TODD BENNETT/STAFF
Susan Rutt (left) and Kim McDowell pick up copy paper as Kroger gave away $20,000 in school supplies to teachers.

But the teachers crowding into the school’s gym hadn’t come to do their jobs. They were just there to get their equipment.

The Kroger grocery store’s Atlanta division held its third annual school supply giveaway at Westside on Tues­day, distributing $20,000 in supplies to almost 700 Augusta teachers.

Teachers visiting Westside were given a blue bag with $40 in various school and office supplies, including dry erase markers, paper towels, pens and pencils. Teachers had to present a valid Georgia teacher ID to get their free supplies.

Around 60 people, including Kroger store associates and ROTC students, volunteered to distribute the school supplies.

Teachers at one point formed a line that stretched from the gym to outside the school itself. It only took two hours for visiting teachers to clean out Kroger’s school supply stock.

Teachers have begun to pay heavily to augment and prepare classrooms, according to national studies. The National School Supply and Equipment Association said 99.5 percent of public school teachers spent their own money on supplies during the 2012-13 school year, and the national average of money spent by teachers hovers at $485 a year.

Laquita Parks, a Kroger customer communication specialist, has been running the Kroger supply giveaway since its beginning in Augusta. Parks said the event helps alleviate some of the struggles teachers deal with yearly.

“Every year, school budgets get a little bit smaller. We’re doing this to help teachers get the things they need. I’m glad I work for a company that encourages us to help our communities in this way,” Parks said.

“Every year we do it, we get so much appreciation from the teachers who come to see us. They send us thank you cards and things like that. It’s an honor to work on something that allows me to put something like this together.”

Teachers attending the event said events such as the Kroger giveaway helped them keep costs down as the school year begins.

John S. Davidson Fine Arts science teacher Amy Mealing hoped to get “free goodies” for her classroom at the giveaway.

“I do end up having to spend my own money to get supplies for my classes … it could be anywhere from $50 to $200 depending on what I need,” Mealing said.

“We do get help from our school’s Parent Teacher Or­ganizations as well. Anything like this is really helpful and useful to us.”

Derrek Blitch, a sixth-grade social studies teacher at Hephzibah Middle School, said he appreciated any events that helped teachers get the supplies they needed.

“We have a lot going on, especially since many of us have so many responsibilities and teach multiple classes,” Blitch said. “We appreciate any help we receive, whether from business, parents or some other form of outreach.”

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ctchpln
364
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ctchpln 07/23/14 - 07:24 am
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Thank you

Thank you, Kroger, for giving back to the community in the form of school supplies. It may only be $40 per teacher, but that means $40 the teacher retains or that he/she can use to purchase other items. If all companies would follow suit, it would be a lesser burden on everyone. I'll continue to support Kroger, too.

Sweet son
11793
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Sweet son 07/23/14 - 11:38 am
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My thanks too! Kroger has stepped up to the plate for 'our'

students! The first comment mentioned "teacher retains." That to me means that's $40 that doesn't come from our household budget because my teacher is going to buy even if it means going into 'our' money.

And yes, my teacher got some of these supplies.

Science chick
26
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Science chick 07/23/14 - 03:00 pm
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0
Thank you!!

Thank you a Kroger and the many volunteers!! It is greatly appreciated!

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