Schools reap rewards from Smith’s program

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Grocer gives local schools $63,964 through ‘Earn & Learn’

By Carol A. Clark

Every time shoppers swipe their Smith’s Fresh Values Cards, local schools and organization reap profits — and in Los Alamos and White Rock — those profits are substantial.
Through its “Earn & Learn Program,” Smith’s contributed a percentage of shoppers’ savings to Los Alamos Public Schools and other organizations.
The grocer, with stores in White Rock and Los Alamos, distributed checks totaling $63,964 during a ceremony at the LAPS district offices recently.
“Since the program began in 2001, Smith’s has gifted $13.4 million to K-12 schools throughout the West,” said Smith’s spokesperson Marsha Gilford.
The donation from Smith’s is unrestricted and schools may select the most appropriate use of the gift. Schools have used the funds to support reading programs, build walking tracks, buy computers and audiovisual equipment or fund more basic instructional needs, she said.
“It’s a sweet bit of business with Smith’s Earn & Learn program,” Superintendent Gene Schmidt said. “LAPS did very well and that’s a tribute to this community…this money really does provide the little bits of extras we just wouldn’t get otherwise that enhances our students’ learning experiences.”
The top two local recipients this year were Piñon Elementary School in White Rock, which received $8,937 and Los Alamos High School, with $8,772.
“Many staff members worked hard last year to increase the number of parents who signed up for this program at Smith’s,” said Assistant Superintendent Paula Dean. “While naming a special school to benefit from your purchases at Smith’s doesn’t add a dime to your bill, it does provide thousands of dollars for our schools.”
The money provided teacher professional development and supplementary materials for students who were struggling, bought field trips and motivational prizes for students at Pinon, Dean said.
In New Mexico, 249 public and private K-12 schools are receiving a portion of $233,885.72 in undesignated cash contributions based upon their level of support from shoppers in the program.
Eligible schools must be a qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit, state-accredited, K-12 school within Smith’s operating areas in Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.
To enroll a school in Earn & Learn, school administrators must complete an online application at www.smithsfoodanddrug.com.
Smith’s customers who want to support the Earn & Learn
program should link their rewards card to the K-12 school of their choice, by logging on to their Smith’s account or presenting a letter from the school with an Earn & Learn barcode to a store checker.
Each time the rewards card is used for a purchase at Smith’s, the school earns money. Enrollment in the program must occur at the beginning of each school year to be eligible and must be done by Sept. 30.
Smith’s is a division of the Kroger Co., one of the nation’s largest retail grocers. From its division office in Salt Lake City, Smith’s manages 132 stores in seven western states.