Belk employees volunteer at Beaufort Elementary for store's 125th anniversary

tbarton@islandpacket.comMay 22, 2013 

From right, Belk employees Morgan Waters, Maricela Corral and Amber Godwin paint 20 small canvases for an educational wall hanging at Beaufort Elementary School. Numerous Belk employees were on hand at to give the school a 'facelift' from 8 a.m. to noon Wednesday. The department store is celebrating its 125th anniversary with 125 days of service, dedicated to improving Title 1 schools in low-income communities. Belk employees spent the morning painting classrooms, building bookcases, beautifying school grounds, planting gardens, updating playgrounds and installing educational murals. Employees are also organizing in-store book drives and offering school principals personal makeovers with up to $300 in donated merchandise, clothing and makeup.

JAY KARR — Jay Karr Buy Photo

Belk employees spruced up Beaufort Elementary School on Wednesday, building bookcases and a picnic table and painting a mural.

The privately owned department-store chain is celebrating its 125th anniversary with 125 days of service, dedicated to improving conditions at 250 schools in low-income communities in 16 states.

Employees will also organize in-store book drives and offer principals personal makeovers with up to $300 in donated merchandise, clothing and makeup, according to a news release.

Points of Light, a national organization dedicated to volunteer service and civic engagement, collaborated with Belk on the project.

"It's a big effort, which is really awesome, and it's great that we can give back and have a relationship with people in the community," said Morgan Waters, operations team manager at Belk of Beaufort.

Gwen Allen, engineering and technology teacher for the school's AMES academy, hopes the work by Belk employees inspires students to volunteer in their communities.

"Hopefully, that will spread -- that spirit of community service -- to kids, who see that it's a nice thing to go out and help others and do things for other people," Allen said.

The employees' work will also have an effect in the classroom. Teachers have developed a lesson plan to accompany the mural of concentric circles painted by the employees.

Allen said teachers will use the artwork to teach students about primary colors, abstract and impressionist art, as well as the painter who inspired the artwork, Russian-born artist Wassily Kandinsky.

The Belk at Cross Creek Plaza at 332 Robert Small Parkway in Beaufort will celebrate the company's 125th anniversary May 29 beginning at 9:10 a.m., with a welcome and remarks by Blakely Williams, president of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce. Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling and City Councilwoman Donnie Beer will also speak.

The celebration will feature entertainment, light refreshments and sales promotions throughout the store, according to a news release.

The first 100 customers will receive a Belk gift card.

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