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Belk gives back to communities during anniversary through service projects

POSTED: May 16, 2013 12:17 a.m.
Scott Rogers/The Times

Belk employees from Lakeshore Mall add water repellent Wednesday morning to a freshly built picnic table made for students at Centennial Arts Academy. Belk continues its 125 Days of Service, which began on March 10, where store volunteers give makeovers to local schools as part of its 125th anniversary celebration. From left, the Belk employees are Keishun Watkins, Beck Phagan and Aidee Flores.

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An icon of Southern style helped a Gainesville elementary school boost its aesthetic appeal Wednesday morning.

Employees from Belk, as part of its 125 days of service, helped construct and paint bookcases, a picnic bench and artwork at Centennial Arts Academy.

The service project is part of a larger effort from the metro Charlotte-based department store that began in early March.

“It’s our 125-year celebration at Belk. Part of that is school projects for each store in the entire country,” said Lisa Lassiter, regional vice president for north Atlanta, which oversees five stores, including the Lakeshore Mall location in Gainesville.

All 15 of the volunteers were from the Gainesville store on Pearl Nix Parkway, just across the street from the school.

“Belk has committed the time. It’s important that we allow the time for our associates. We allowed anyone who wanted to to sign up, and they’re paid for their time here,” Lassiter said. “We’ve got visual, the home department, the men’s department, the ladies department, the operations team — just about every department is represented.”

The employees were happy with the change of pace spent serving children.

“When I heard them announce it, I said ‘Yes, I want to do it!’” said Aidee Flores, an associate who works in shipping and receiving. “I like to help, and I like kids.”

The organization Points of Light helped partner each individual Belk store with a local school, Lassiter said.

Principal Charlene Williams expressed her enthusiasm for the work done.

“We’re excited to get the picnic benches because students love to eat outside, and we sometimes have classes outside, so it will really help us in that area, as an arts academy,” Williams said. “We’ll display all of the lovely artwork they are making for us. We’ll pair it up with some student artwork and put it in a special place in the building.”

When it came to choosing where Belk stores across the country would devote service, Lassiter said schools were a no-brainer.

“Belk has a history of community service. We’re a big contributor to education, and schools being so important to the community, it’s the obvious choice,” Lassiter said.


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