HEFLIN — Starting Dec. 1 shoppers in Cleburne County can help the county’s school system by donating their loose change through a program called Even For Education, or E4E.
When they pay for their purchases, shoppers can choose to “even up” the amount they pay to retail stores to the next higher dollar. The difference will go directly to the Cleburne County Board of Education to be used for the school system. If a customer makes a $9.64 purchase and pays with $10, he could request that 36 cents then go to the school system.
According to school Superintendent Chad Young, the program will run in the months of March, June, September and December.
Young said he got the idea from visiting a Firehouse Subs restaurant in Carrollton, Ga. He was asked if he wanted to round up his purchase to the next high dollar amount for the fireman's foundation.
“I got to noticing how many people said yes, in fact everybody in the store that I watched said yes,” Young said.
So Young decided to try the same concept in Cleburne County to benefit the schools.
So far Young has 22 merchants signed up to participate in the program. For businesses that do not have software to collect the Even For Education money on the customer's receipt, Young is providing schoolhouse-shaped money boxes to sit next to the merchant’s cash registers.
“We want to make sure that any business in Cleburne County, if they want to participate has that opportunity,” Young said.
Young said the feedback he has gotten from the community has been “100 percent great.”
“People are looking for a way to help their kids and their grandkids and we want this to be a long-term project where we see the benefits of it for many, many years to come,” Young said.
Young said the money can be used for a variety of expenses, including:
— School supplies for the students
— Fuel for school buses for extracurricular trips
— Storage buildings
— Money to hire art and music teachers for the elementary schools
Young has high hopes for the program.
“Maybe we can get to a point to where we’re not having to always do more with less,” Young said.
“Whatever we get with this project is money we didn’t have that we can use on our students,” Young said.