HEFLIN — Thanks to the Even For Education program at WM Grocery in Heflin, the Cleburne County school system is just about $28,000 richer.
The Even For Education program allows customers to send to the school system the change they would normally get from a cash purchase. A customer makes the decision at point-of-sale, allowing the donation to be quick and efficient.
The precise sum that the schools received Thursday, $27,999.34, will pay for students’ school supplies and fees.
The Even for Education, or E4E, program was started in December 2017 by school Superintendent Chad Young to help take the burden off parents’ back-to-school expenses and other costs.
If a customer makes a $9.64 purchase and pays with $10, he could request that 36 cents then go to the school system.
In December 2018 WM Grocery gave the school system almost $16,000 from the E4E program. According to Steven Lines, WM Grocery chief operations manager, the nearly $28,000 given on Thursday was the amount accumulated since 2018. Lines said the program is awesome and wants to give all the credit for the fundraising to WM’s customers.
“It’s not WM that did this, it’s our customers and they’re entrusting us with their dollars and so we want to make sure they feel comfortable and the money is going where it is intended,” said Lines. “That is our biggest thing, it’s not WM, it’s the community that steps up to plate and is funding this.”
Lines said that he has kids in the school system and the E4E program is a big help.
Lines said the store had been participating in the E4E program on a quarterly basis but switched to doing the program every day.
“We just ask the customer if they want to do it, it seems to be working a little better, because people are used to it, if they want to they do it, if they don’t they just say no and move on,” said Lines.
“We’re creating quite a bit of funds, it’s amazing what a few pennies will add up to over time, so it's a pretty neat program,” he said.
Young was at the store on Thursday to receive an oversized check made out to the school system during a photo shoot.
“What they've done here at WM is just a symbol of what Cleburne County is, how we work together on things and the fact that they’re willing to take some time from their employees to ask the question and take the money, because every dollar that give us goes back to the children in our school system,” said Young.
“We want the people to know that the money is going back to the communities across the whole county,” said Young.