November 15, 2012 in Washington Voices

Wal-Mart donates $1,000 to Orchard Center

By The Spokesman-Review
Lisa Leinberger photo

Travis Peterson, principal at Orchard Center Elementary School in the West Valley School District, accepted a $1,000 grant from Wal-Mart Oct. 17.
(Full-size photo)

When a new business comes to town, sometimes local organizations benefit.

At Orchard Center Elementary School, Principal Travis Peterson has an oversized check in his office, one that hung from the walls before it kept falling down.

“That check has literally bounced a couple of times,” he joked. Although the check kept falling off the wall, the funds it represents are solid. The school received $1,000 from the new Wal-Mart in Spokane Valley when it opened Oct. 17.

“They made everyone in the community aware,” Peterson said. “They wanted to extend a hand to the community.”

In fact, Peterson said he was approached by the store’s management team shortly before they opened and it was suggested he apply.

“They said, ‘We want to form a partnership with you,’ ” Peterson said.

“We’re allotted so much money to give back to the community every year,” said Wal-Mart assistant manager Shaun Stanfield. He’s a graduate of West Valley, and believed Orchard Center would have a need for the funds.

The store had $8,000 budgeted for community grants. Greater Spokane Meals on Wheels and Spokane Valley Partners each received $2,000. Hearth Homes, the SCRAPS Hope Foundation and Toys for Tots each received $1,000.

Peterson said he plans to update the curriculum the school counselors use to talk to students about stranger danger, conflict resolution and promoting conversations. Up until now, the counselors only had videotapes and cassettes in this curriculum to show the students, but since the school’s equipment has been updated, they can’t use the tapes anymore.

“It really did help,” Peterson said.

He wanted the funds to affect as many students as possible, so the funds went to the counselors rather than a classroom.

While the updated curriculum will be a nice addition to the school, Peterson said he hopes the relationship with Wal-Mart and its employees will continue.

Stanfield said Wal-Mart has a program called Volunteerism Always Pays, where employees volunteer at a local charity or organization and come back to the store, log in their volunteer hours and the amount of money that employee would have made at the store if they were working per hour goes to the charity.

“It’s a pretty sweet program,” Stanfield said.

Many large companies donate funds to the community when they open a new store, and Peterson said those funds are appreciated.

“It makes them look good,” he said. “But it is good.”

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