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During presentations Dec. 10 at East Elementary School on Dec. 11 at Gilson Brown Elementary School, second-grade students gathered in the gym for a mass book unwrapping. Alton Square Macy’s employees collected enough money to purchase books for more than 400 students.
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ALTON — Although this time of year is retailers’ busiest season, Macy’s associates are making sure they keep the spirit of giving by providing smiles again this season for Alton School District second-grade students.
For the second year, associates from the Alton Square Macy’s decided to “adopt” second-graders who participate in the school’s Reach Out and Read program.
“When it comes to community-minded businesses, Macy’s stands out,” said Brad Weiskopf, vice president and store manager of Macy’s Alton Square. “I am proud of my company’s long-standing commitment to giving back to the communities where we work and live. Our Alton Square team’s contributions, leadership and volunteer efforts help to create strong, energetic communities in which our employees and customers can live and work well. This collective spirit has become a cornerstone of our culture at Macy’s Alton Square.”
The partnership began last year when volunteer Carol Fletcher teamed up with Andrea Leach to organize a collection in the Macy’s break room. During the first year, the team collected enough money to purchase books for each of the students at East Elementary School, where program participants were able to take the books home for their own personal collections.
As the Reach Out and Read program expanded this year, so did the efforts of the Macy’s team at Alton Square. This year, the group collected enough money to purchase books for more than 400 students. Not only did these volunteers give financially to make these gifts possible, they also spent time wrapping the books.
During the presentations this month, which took place at East Elementary School on Dec. 10 and at Gilson Brown Elementary School on Dec. 11, second-grade students gathered in the gym, their eyes wide with anticipation as the red and white packages were passed around. After each child had a gift in hand, the students counted down to a mass unwrapping. Faces lit up with enormous smiles as the colorful books were recognized, and students were seen raising their books happily up in the air. Many children were quick to open the books and begin reading. Similar gatherings took place at elementary schools throughout the school district.
This initiative and the thoughtfulness displayed by the associates at Macy’s at Alton Square is special in many ways. Students learned first-hand about generosity and gratitude. Many children marveled at this act of kindness from people they have never met. This gift is also a lesson in the value of literacy. In difficult economic times, many families struggle to provide books for children at home. Happily, each of these second-grade students now has a new book to enjoy through the holiday break.
For information on volunteer opportunities in the Alton School District, contact Elementary Literacy Coach Elaine Kane at 433-7825.