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Smith's donates $49K to community groups, schools

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By Tris DeRoma

Smith’s Food and Drug distributed about $49,000 of annual proceeds from it’s “Earn and Learn” program to 20 community organizations and schools Wednesday.
The top five earners were Aspen Elementary School, $4,630.96; Barranca Elementary School, $5,809.82; Mountain Elementary School, $5,689.19; Los Alamos Middle School, $5,193.30 and Los Alamos High School, $5,604.16.
Superintendent of School Dr. Gene Schmidt was at the ceremony to show his support for the schools as well as the community.
“This is one more example of how a business in our community reinvests,” said Schmidt. “When we see the checks go out, they go out all across the community. He added this is also about Los Alamos residents supporting its school system.
“This wouldn’t be possible if people didn’t support their local businesses,” he said. “Even as we thank Smith’s for its contributions our schools, we thank the community for supporting local businesses.”
Residents helped raise money for the recipients by linking their “Fresh Values” cards to the school or organization of their choice.
The other groups included Ark Child Development, $972.25; Canyoncito Montessori School, $822.97; Chamisa Elementary School, $4,436.28; Dance Arts Los Alamos, $385.46; Family Strengths Network, $641.89; Hope Pregnancy Center, $2920.48; Horizon Centers, $1408.96; Little Forest Pre School, $1323.35; Los Alamos County 4H Clubs, $711.32; Los Alamos H.S. Band Boosters, $1977.34; Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation, $2,403.06; Pajarito Environmental Education, $539.93; Pinon Elementary Schools, $2574.35; Ponderosa Montessori School, $294.44 and Sage Cottage Montessori School, $856.07.
Chamisa Elementary School Principal Deborah Smith said she and her staff have already earmarked the funds to help her students become better readers.
“We use a good portion of the funds to fund a reading intervention program that we use online with our fourth through sixth graders,” Smith said, adding that they also combine the funds with funds from the school’s parent teacher organization to make funding the reading program a collaborative effort.
Other school administrators, like High School Principal Sandra Warnock have a wait-and-see attitude, preferring to spend it on whatever may be the priority for that year.
“We may spend it on one of our celebration, or whatever else the students might need,” Warnock said.
Smith’s general manager John Roberts described the fundraiser as a very valuable service to the community they operate in.
“We are a part of this community, so it’s extremely important to us that we do this,” Roberts said.
“Anything we can do to help, we will.”