Belk workers beautify, build at B.T. Bullock

Apr. 16, 2013 @ 09:49 PM

The faculty and staff at B.T. Bullock Elementary School didn’t ask Belk employees to come by to volunteer Tuesday morning, but the school happily accepted the store’s offer to contribute.

So from 10 a.m. to noon, about 10 employees from the local store were at the school making a picnic table, building new bookshelves and recreating works of abstract art for the school’s art teacher, Sandra Brown, to use for teaching and decorating purposes. They’ll also create “magic carpet” squares for students to sit on — and use to pique their imagination with — during reading time.

“They told us they’d like to come out, and we said, ‘absolutely,’” said Melissa Brewer, an administrative intern at the school.

The work was part of Belk’s 125th anniversary celebration this year. Volunteers from stores all across the South are completing school makeovers over a 125-day period this spring and summer. Charlotte-based Belk is working with Points of Light, an organization specializing in volunteer service, which provided the project ideas and supplied the materials. Belk was charged with getting the volunteers — including Ethel Thomas and Brittany Moser.

Thomas and Moser, working on the bookshelves, were the first ones finished. Moser said she was glad to volunteer because her own child will start school soon, and Thomas said she volunteered because she had fond memories of helping out at schools.

“When my children were small, I always volunteered at their schools,” she said. “This let me do it again.”

Justin Matthews and Shane Sherron, who were working on the picnic table with the store’s manager, Graham Spencer, said they participate in volunteer work with their churches, and this was one more way of giving back to the community. Spencer said the local store is part of the larger Raleigh region, so its volunteer efforts often get directed to areas outside of Lee County.

“It’s nice to be giving back to our local community,” he said.

Bullock was chosen for this project because it’s the closest school to the local store, which is located in the Riverbirch Shopping Center, said Lea Chandler, who served as the point person for the project. She said she was glad that the employees who came out were all from different departments — fostering a sense of cooperation. But even moreso, she said she was glad to help give the school a chance to have new equipment and projects without any teachers or staff having to take away from their official duties.

Watching Spencer, Matthews and Sherron struggle with the picnic table, Chandler joked that they might possibly be better at offering sales than practicing carpentry. But in the end, the table turned out level, and Brewer said it could add another dimension to the school’s central garden area.

“That’s an area that could definitely be used more, for incentives or things like that,” she said. “It’ll be good to have.”