Scarborough Schools received donestions from the Hannaford Helps Schools Program of over $19,000, which customers contributed to themselves. Each school in the district received a portion of the funds, but Scarborough High School earned the most, raising $7,000 in 2019 and 2020. Kelley Bouchard / Portland Press Herald

SCARBOROUGH — The Board of Education thanked Hannaford for donations of over $19,000 to Scarborough Public Schools on Oct. 15.

The district accepted two years worth of donations that the community raised from the Hannaford Helps Schools Program, which ran from Aug. 25 through Nov. 30 in 2019 and from Mar. 1 through May 16 in 2020.

Hannaford Helps Schools Program works by customers purchasing specific products with the “Helps Schools” tag on the shelf, according to the Hannaford website. Customers then collect “school dollars” at checkout and deposit these in small towers symbolizing their schools. Four products are equivalent to three school dollars.

Different local schools are represented in each Hannaford location, said Sherri Stevens, community relations manager for Hannaford. Schools register for the Hannaford location at which they would like customers to participate.

Of the over $19,000 in donations, Scarborough High School earned the most through the program.

Stevens said schools that earn the most funds receive a $1,000 bonus, giving Scarborough High School, which made the most “school dollars” in 2019 and 2020, an additional $2,000, over $7,000 in total.

Scarborough Middle School earned over $3,000; Wentworth, Pleasant Hill, and Eight Corners each received over $2,000, and Blue Point School received over $1,700.

The program has evolved and strengthened over the last 21 years, Stevens said. The company does not require funds to be used for any specific purpose, so schools may utilize their donations in multiple ways.

“Some put them into after-school programs, the arts,” she said. “We have a school that is using them to purchase warm clothing so if a child is going out for recess, they can have clothing the school can offer them. And I’m glad they find some really impactful ways to use those funds.”

Hannaford dispersed $1.8 million in total to schools participating in the program in 2019 and 2020, Stevens said.

“We know that we’re particularly excited about the $1.8 million because we understand educators are facing significant challenges through COVID-19,” she said. “This is an investment in our kids, and we want our children to grow and develop and become successful. In order for that to happen, we need to invest in their education.”

The customer involvement in the program highlights the old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” Stevens said.

“We’re all together investing in the success of our kids,” she said.

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