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Piggly Wiggly gives back to schools

The phrase “pig out” doesn’t generally bring to mind notebooks and pencils; however, one local businesswoman made an announcement Friday that she hopes will change that.

Marilyn Williams, owner of the Andalusia Piggly Wiggly, said she will rebate back 1 percent of all receipted purchases that are turned into any Covington County school classroom.

Hence the program name, “Pig Out for Education.”

Williams, who made the announcement at the store’s 20-year anniversary celebration, said the program is designed to “give back to the community, who was here with me,” she said.

“I have a lot of teachers, parents and kids that shop (at the Piggly Wiggly),” she said. “I felt like this was my way to give back. We know what desperate situations our schools are facing. Every penny helps.

“To show our appreciation to our local schools and our loyal customers, we’re asking them to give their receipts to any city or county school student,” she said.

Neil Springstead, Regions Bank manager, helped Williams to describe how the program would work.

Receipt boxes will be given to each teacher of kindergarten through sixth grade in the Andalusia, Opp and Covington County school systems.

Beginning on Nov. 1, students may turn in receipts for Piggly Wiggly purchases (excluding deli, fuel and tobacco) to their teachers. At the end of the school month, the teacher will tally the receipts, and within 10 days, a 1-percent rebate will be given back to the school. The classroom that collects the receipts with the most value will receive a visit from the business’ employees and snacks, Williams said.

“There is no limit on the amount of rebate each school can receive,” Springstead said. “That dollar amount is up to the community.”

To “sweeten the pot,” Williams made an initial contribution of $1,000 that will be divided between the participating schools. That money will be divided on a prorated basis at the end of November.

Andalusia Superintendent Ted Watson and County Schools Superintendent Terry Holley were both on hand for the announcement, as was Speaker of the House Seth Hammett.

Hammett described the program as a “great tribute” to the school systems and “great foresight” on Williams’ part.

Holley and Watson said the funds will be greatly appreciated.

“It’s a terrific opportunity for the people to give back,” Watson said. “It’s not a tax. It’s a way for the people to pick themselves up by the bootstraps and benefit the schools. We’re tickled about it.”

Piggly Wiggly Owner Marilyn Williams is shown with Regions Bank manager Neil Springstead and Superintendents Ted Watson and Terry Holley. | Stephanie Nelson/Star-News