GIVING BACK: For 10,000 Belk Inc. associates, back-to-school has new meaning. They descended on more than 300 Title 1 elementary schools in the South, giving makeovers to both school facilities and many of the principals. They painted classrooms, built bookcases, renovated playgrounds, organized book drives and brought murals, picnic tables and landscaping to the school grounds. About 175 principals received cosmetics and clothes for makeovers.

“We can’t begin to express how grateful we are that you came to Frederick Douglass and donated your time and efforts for our school. The bookcases, picnic table, painted canvases and floor mats will be enjoyed by all,” said Stephanie Downey, principal of the Frederick Douglass Elementary School in Winchester, Va. “The experience also taught our students how wonderful it is to reach out and help others in our community.”

This story first appeared in the July 15, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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Belk said its associates put in 21,000 volunteer hours benefiting 131,000 students in more than 300 Title 1 elementary schools serving low-income, at-risk students in communities throughout Belk’s 16-state Southern footprint. The campaign began March 11 and lasted 125 days in honor of Belk’s 125th anniversary celebrated this year. Belk partnered with Points of Light, an organization dedicated to volunteer service, in the school campaign. According to Jessica Graham, Belk’s vice president of communications and community relations, the school campaign was a first for Belk and would lead to further support for schools in the future.

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