Teachers surprised with supply bags

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 11, 2010

Local teachers got a much-needed surprise recently when employees of the Southeast Alabama Gas District showed up bearing gifts.

Teachers in the Andalusia City, Covington County and Opp City school systems each received tote bags on Thursday and Friday, which included hand sanitizer, copy paper, highlighters, dry erase markers and red pens.

“Basically the gas district was talking to the superintendents in our service area to see what they needed,” said Shannon Gooden, who works in marketing at SEAGD. “One of the things we were hearing was that the instructional dollars have been taken away from the budget, and that represents about $500 per classroom. We wanted to do a little bit to show we cared. We wanted to help alleviate some of the financial burdens on the teachers.”

With the help of the SEAGD board, employees were able to gather supplies for the teachers and then distribute them.

“Our board of directors felt that our school systems really were an area within our service area that needed the assistance,” she said. “They approved the money to help the systems.”

Gooden said employees wanted to do something in lieu of making a contribution that might go to one particular project. Employees wanted to make sure that what they did touched every teacher.

While, Gooden said, they knew there was no way they could supplement the $500 per teacher that was taken out of the budget, they knew that even a $15 or $20 contribution would make a difference to the teachers.

“We hope this will challenge other local businesses to do something similar,” she said. “It’s been so well received. It’s made a huge impact on the community. I can very well see us doing something similar again.”

Gooden said it was good way for SEAGD to get their employees in the community.

“A lot of our employees got to connect with their neighbors, family members and friends,” she said. “Our work study students assembled the bags for us, and every bag had a thank you card attached to it.”

Gooden said all the teachers in Covington County got their bags hand-delivered by SEAGD employees.

“We limited the volunteers to four employees per school, so we didn’t overwhelm the teachers and disrupt the school day,” she said.

“We had a diverse group, young and old, male and female. Internally, it’s been an outstanding program.”