Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Shopping for Education

For many students around the U.S., this week marks the start of the 2010-2011 school year. Many parents are doing their part to help improve their kids' schools just by going to the grocery store. For years, food and beverage consumer packaged goods companies have participated in programs that allow moms and dads to give back to education in the community.

One such initiative, Box Tops for Education, has been helping schools earn the extra cash they need for books and supplies for the past 13 years. To date, more than 90,000 schools across the nation educating students from kindergarten through eighth grade have earned $320 million through the program. Here's how it works: parents and teachers clip Box Tops coupons from hundreds of participating products found in grocery stores and hand them in to their local school. Schools earn $0.10 for each Box Top redeemed to fund much-needed supplies and equipment.

Companies partnered on the project include General Mills brands like Betty Crocker, Green Giant, Hamburger Helper, Pillsbury, and Yoplait among others, as well as Land O' Lakes, Nestlé USA, and Welch's.

Recently, the refreshing fruit-flavored beverage Sunny D also announced a program to help schools in the community. With every 20 Sunny D labels, pre-kindergarten through seventh grade classrooms in the U.S. earn 20 free books through the Sunny D Book Spree. In addition, the five schools that submit the most proof of purchase stamps will each receive $2,000 worth of books; the next five top submitting schools will each receive $1,000 worth of books. In 2009, the Sunny D Book Spree gave away 84,000 free books.

Finally, the Labels for Education project has been awarding free educational equipment to schools in exchange for proofs of purchase from the Campbell family of brands for more than 37 years. According to the organization's website, more than 60,000 schools and organizations are registered with the program, benefiting more than 42 million students and providing more than $110 million in merchandise to schools around the country.

The next time you're shopping for groceries, be mindful of the stickers, logos, and tags on items supporting these promotions that benefit schools in your community. Be sure, too, to visit the websites of the organizations to learn how you can donate your labels to these worthwhile causes.

Make your voice heard! If you participate in these types of programs for your child's school, leave me a message and tell me about your experience.

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